Fun with Whanau Ora: one co-leader lessens the role of the ministry headed by another

Dunno if things are as they seem, around Whanau Ora.

But here’s how they seem, based on a reading of a report (here) at Stuff.

First, the report says Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia has outlined a new structure for her flagship social programme.

And second, it says Te Puni Kokiri will lose responsibility for distributing money under the new arrangement.

One consequence is that the scope for public scrutiny of the scheme may be reduced.

Three yet to be established non- government organisations (NGOs) will distribute Whanau Ora funds to the North Island, South Island and Pacific communities, a structure which could mean more of the activities escape the scrutiny of the Official Information Act.

So why the change?

Turia said the new structure would put a greater focus on delivering results for families.

For years the public sector had been “dreaming up different proposals, different products [but] . . . we still have families in very dire straits”, she said.

Most community schemes sponsored by the public sector were focused solely on outcomes. “We’re really tired of watching lots of money going down the tubes, on our behalf . . . rather than letting us determine our way forward.”

It looks like Winston Peters will have a field day, if Whanau Ora is wrapped up in greater secrecy.

Peters is apt to claim the money is being wasted and…

Yesterday he said giving the NGOs responsibility for spending the cash before their shape and membership had been established was a sign of “panic”.

But it’s the reducing of TPK’s role that fascinates the member for Eketahuna North.

It suggests to the wily old bugger that one bit of the Maori Party co-leadership – the bit that has made whanau ora her policy baby – has no confidence in TPK delivering the goods.

TPK – of course – is ministerially headed by the other co-leader.

Caucus meetings are bound to be fun.

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