Dames head to tribunal over Whānau Ora turmoil

Five Māori women leaders including Dame Tariana Turia have filed an urgent claim to the Waitangi Tribunal alleging that the Government is underfunding and undermining Whānau Ora and they have told the Prime Minister they have lost confidence in Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare.

Turia, the founder of Whānau Ora, says Jacinda Ardern is out of her depth.

The five women wrote to Jacinda Ardern in November expressing concerns that Whānau Ora was being “destroyed by stealth,” seeking a meeting and expressing no confidence in Henare, but have had no reply.

They say the name Whānau Ora is being used for projects other than those commissioned by Whānau Ora agencies and the brand is being “misappropriated” by the Government.

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This is a political trap being set for Ratana and Waitangi and Jacinda needs to be careful here.

But first, a brief explanation about what Whānau Ora is and why the Wellington Bureaucratic Elite hate it.

Whānau Ora is an attempt to gain public money to spend directly on Māori families. The philosophy is that instead of sending a person off to a dozen different social welfare agencies, you bring the wrap around services to the family and work alongside them to gain real outcomes, you know, the way you imagine the public service would work but doesn’t.

The justification for Whānau Ora was that the existing Government Agencies are all fucking hopeless at helping Māori and that in many cases the existing Government Agencies were either counterproductive or actually biased against Māori, so Whānau Ora was a genuine attempt at not only creating Treaty agency and sovereignty, but it was a real response to the bullshit Government Agencies.

The Wellington Bureaucratic Elite hate Whānau Ora with a passion.

They despise seeing any cent of their fiefdoms spent in any manner that they don’t control. Most Government Agencies do a  bullshit brown wash song and dance to pay lip service to the Treaty which includes a Māori name of their agency, some nonsense Māori design, Guyon Espiner level Te Reo pronunciation and that’s it.

Watching an Agency that is aimed at providing real direct welfare support without the Wellington Bureaucratic Elite wetting their beak is unacceptable to the Wellington Bureaucratic Elite so they have always wanted to destroy Whānau Ora and they’ve managed to do that under Labour this time by convincing Labour that Whānau Ora is a Māori Party trojan horse and have strangled off the funding.

Sadly Jacinda and Grant are beholden to the Wellington Bureaucratic Elite and back them in their personal vendetta against Whānau Ora which is dangerous politically because despite winning enormous support from Māoridom in 2017, this Government hasn’t delivered for them and cutting Whānau Ora’s budget is just another issue on top of the censoring of Māori mental health criticisms , the Wai 2575 health inquiry and Ihumatao.

This next step taken by the Dames is a ratcheting up of tensions before Ratana and Waitangi and a clear shot across the bow that the Māori Party will be running a real candidate against Peeni in Tāmaki Makaurau.

All the Māori Party has to do is pump up its party vote by using profile candidates and select one to go head to head in a Māori electorate with the determination to win.

Imagine this scenario. John Tamihere fights Peeni Henare in Tāmaki Makaurau, wins and brings in on the list Mike King, Pania Newton, Dr Lance Armstrong and Matthew Tukaki.

That kind of line up and strategy would see the Māori Party re-enter Parliament with a bunch of high profile Māori candidates and NZ First would refuse to sit in any Government that includes them.

Labour have done bugger all for Māori to avoid white backlash but that cowardice could harvest a bitter fruit if it topples Jacinda’s Government.



  1. Absolutely agree. Where is Willie on all of this? Surely he is aware of the funding strangulation?
    He sure as hell can’t pull off another delivery of all the Maori seats to Labour again without something concrete and exceptional in the way of funding.
    Jackson doesn’t have to be in Parliament after all,
    Labour needs him more than he needs Labour.

    • “Mr Henare said Whānau Ora spending on a new initiative with Corrections did not come out of that pool of money, and was a joint bid with the other agencies.

      “No departments are getting pūtea out of the $80m – there is some departmental expenditure increase that is natural when you get a significant increase in funding,” he said.

      “Any claim or assertion that the money is going back into the middle is just false.”

      The three commissioning agencies got increases of just over $10m between them for the first year.

      Mr Henare said the allocation has only been set for the first year and their next contracts would have to be renegotiated with Te Puni Kōkiri.

      He said the remainder of the funding was there to pay for Whānau Ora services, but not necessarily through the current agencies.

      “While the commissioning agencies do great work – let’s be clear – they are not Whānau Ora as a kaupapa,” he said.

      “I’ve made it quite clear to them that while I applaud the work they do, and the review highlights that, that we want to grow this kaupapa moving forward and that involves government agencies, communities and whānau.”

      The minister is considering localised commissioning options and getting the money directly into communities.

      The chief executive of commissioning agency Pasifika Futures, Debbie Sorensen, said the funding boost reinforced the good work the commissioning agencies were doing.

      She said their increase was also not enough to meet demand for the 81,000 Pacific people they support.

      However, she’s backing the minister and said this is a good start”

  2. Yes I agree with you Martyn so far the Maori party have one good candidate they need to get a few more even if they can take out two of the Maori seats this will make a difference. And these Maori candidates need to be very strong candidates to ensure they can stand up to the two big parties. Of the potential candidates you have listed a few may be suited. I and I know some other Maori aren’t happy about Ihumatao and they ain’t
    happy about Oranga Tamariki so big problems are on the horizons.

    • The Maori party are the natural partner of the National party, why would you want them back in after they sold Maori out?

        • Given the Maori party sold out Maori over 9 years fairly recently the question still stands, the Maori party are the natural partner of the National party, why would you want them back in after they sold Maori out?

  3. I see Labour are taking our Maori seats for granted who is the lesser evil them or national ? Ratana day is fast approaching and Ihumatao has not been resolved.

    • Labour are not taking the Maori seats for granted, that sounds like a line from National and the Maori party that sold out Maori.

      • Look Louis I was a Maori Party voter and then when they sold us out I voted Hone and still would be if he didn’t make the mistake of going with Dot com.

        • Hone is good, he said Dotcom wouldn’t listen. Best not to use false lines from National and the Maori party, particularly when Tariana Turia very recently pulled the racist card again by calling certain Maori non Maori due to the party they belong to.

            • The vast majority of academics and politicians have major issues saying the correct things about Maoridoom because well apart of New Zealand’s constitutional scaffolding is the protection of the Māori culture. It’s a conservative outfit that has been distorted out of any relation to its meaning but in the real sense of conservatism the Māori electorate seats are a conservative organisation. Yknow they go along with the Church (Ratana) Labour or National, those are very conservative things. You may recall what happened to The Mana Party at the last election, they where attacked by all parties because they didn’t adhere to political conservatism. This is an organised defence of New Zealand’s constitutional scaffolding. And I think that is enologist of Māori conservatism that is deeply opposed to the values in which it was created.

  4. Load of rot. Whānau Ora was severely underfunded under National. Maori havent forgotten how the Maori party, which is the natural partner for the National party, sold out, heck, even Te Reo declined when the Maori party were propping up the Nats for 9 years and they are the cause for the strife at Ihumātao that this government are sorting out. Tariana Turia hasn’t learnt anything from the Maori party’s defeat in 2017 and is still playing dirty politics. Cant see John Tamihere winning and Dr Lance Armstrong wants to be the only leader of a political party and does not want to share. Got a feeling that when a deal with Ihumātao is finalized and Pania gets what she wants, it still wont be enough.

    • Louis: “….they are the cause for the strife at Ihumātao that this government are sorting out.”

      In fairness all round – and I’m no defender of the Maori party – they had nothing to do with events leading up to the situation at Ihumatao. The die was cast there long before any of us now alive was born.

      That land is privately-owned. Therefore it could never have been part of a Treaty settlement. Privately-owned land has been off the table for Treaty settlements since the current process began in the 1990s.

      Thus the Ardern government cannot have any role in resolving that situation. Expropriation of private land by the government, to settle a grievance, puts at risk the private property rights of all of us. Don’t think it won’t happen.

      “Got a feeling that when a deal with Ihumātao is finalized and Pania gets what she wants, it still wont be enough.”

      Of course it wouldn’t be enough. Pandora’s Box got nothing on what’d happen, were that land to be expropriated. It was the Iwi leaders’ group, i believe, which indicated that, were the government to buy Ihumatao so as to gift it to Tainui or whoever, that would automatically reopen every single contemporary Treaty settlement, right back to the very first one – with Ngai Tahu, I think.

      • The Maori party supported its National government creating a SHA at Ihumātao in 2014 and selling the land to Fletchers in 2016. This government are well aware of the potential consequences and will go to great lengths to ensure that the resolution of Ihumātao keeps other Treaty settlements intact.

        • For all of TE Ururoa Flavels faults, IMO, he did not understand economics. So for about a dollar that Whanau Ora received, about $200 had to be cut from The National Party budget from 2008-2017. Yknow? Do a deal with the devil and he’ll still fuck you over.

        • Louis: “The Maori party supported its National government creating a SHA at Ihumātao in 2014 and selling the land to Fletchers in 2016.”

          Given that the Stonefields area had already been given reserve status, and given that the rest of the land was privately-owned, the Maori party would have had no reason to block the establishment of a SHA.

          Again: the land sold to Fletcher was privately-owned by the vendors. Neither the National nor the Maori parties had any say at all over its sale.

  5. “Henare said he believed the claim was “politicised somewhat given the names of the claimants, given their rhetoric around Whānau Ora as though they are trying to protect something because it was a kaupapa started by the Māori Party.
    “I have been quite clear … that we believe in Whānau Ora. ”

    Henare said he had commissioned a review in 2018 as the first step “and now we are investing in it”.

    “I do think there is a political motive here.”

    But the Whānau Ora started by the Māori Party had to change.

    “There is a new government that is in charge now and we believe we can make Whānau Ora better.”

    The review he had commissioned into the concept of Whānau Ora had highlighted two things that were missing: buy-in from government agencies and localised commissioning which, for example, was missing from Kaitaia.

    “We believe communities have their own solution so why should there be a big bureaucratic process to get the resource directed to the community that needs it,” Henare said.

    “It won’t be that case in every single community but there are some communities that are in a good position to do that and I think those are initiatives that are worth supporting.”

  6. Labour does nothing for Maori. Marama Fox was correct when she said that “Maori voting for Labour was the same as beaten women going back to their husbands”, or something very similar to that. Labour do not deserve the Maori vote and frankly barely deserve the non Maori vote. This government has been incompetent. If you want a government of the left, you must vote Green.

    • Rubbish @ MickeyBoyle and thats hugely hypocritical given the neglect of Maori when the Maori party were in government with National.

    • Yes Mickey i will be voting Greens for the first time if Ihumatao and Whanau Ora aren’t sorted properly and my suggestion to the Greens is to put a few good people in the Maori seats and get out there and fight for our votes then it wont be Winstone holding the power it will be the Greens.

    • Yes MickeyBoyle the Greens are left at the moment they are left out but if they do what I said they might not be.

    • MickeyBoyle: “If you want a government of the left, you must vote Green.”

      Aargh….please, no! If the Greens grab the treasury benches, we’d get woke leftery and identity politics up the wazoo. Nothing left-wing about that lot.

      I’d like a left-wing government as well. But as things stand, no contemporary political party is left-wing – and emphatically not the Greens – and there’s no foreseeable prospect of one being founded.

  7. “….why the Wellington Bureaucratic Elite hate it.”

    I do not know what you mean by “bureaucratic elite”. Nor, if there is such a thing, why they’d hate whanau ora.

    However. I’d point out that whanau ora was established in 2010. Ten years is, I’d have thought, enough time in which to show positive results in Maori society. Yet other statistics suggest that things are as bad as ever in a disproportionate number of Maori families; possibly worse, given the meth epidemic and the rise in gang numbers.

    It may be that policy wonks and bureaucrats in Wellington realise that, Turia’s claims notwithstanding, the whanau ora programme has been ineffective in its stated aims.

    And nobody should be surprised at that. It wouldn’t be the first social programme to fail and it won’t be the last, no doubt. In my view, if the premise or ideology underpinning the establishment of whanau ora is flawed, the outcomes will be flawed.

  8. $80m over 4 years? Chump Change when the MoH Budget runs at $18b+ annually.
    Brown folks will always be at the top of the statistics for poor health, Housing,Education ect … with weak MP’s who have to put party policy first which translates into crumbs from the “Big” table from where the putea gets dished out.

    • DennyPaoa: “Brown folks will always be at the top of the statistics for poor health, Housing,Education ect…”

      Skin colour is irrelevant. Class – in this country, defined largely by income – is the important factor. Brown folks are disproportionately poor; but not all are poor. So there are brown people who do well in education, have no trouble accessing healthcare and have decent housing. We know such people: they live in our neighbourhood, we studied and worked with them, their children went to school with our children.

      Conversely, not all white folks are rich; there are poor white people, as those of us who’ve worked in the low-income sector can attest.

  9. I see Winstone has come out and poo pooed on the Ihumatao being settled soon. I suppose he is appeasing to his support base and given that temporary visas have risen causing huge problems for our infrastructure especially in the housing area and its election year. So I suppose he (Winstone) has to have some ammunition with his position on immigration weakening by the day.

  10. Dame Tariana Turia lost all respect when she went with National, full stop. Maori suffered yet she was made a Dame, that’s how much she cared for Maori!

    • Tariana Turia jumped ship over foreshore and seabed discussion.
      Then the professed Labourite backed National.
      Now she and her “friends” seek to knock Labour in an election year with claims that don’t bear scrutinee.
      She is throwing shit hoping it sticks. Nasty stuff that will further hurt Maori.
      It smells of corruption.

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