July 19, 2016
"Measuring what matters for Whanau, Kia tina ki runga, kia tamore ki raro"
“Measuring what matters for Whanau, Kia tina ki runga, kia tamore ki raro”
WILLIE JACKSON OPINION:
The Te Pou Matakana conference held in Auckland was a huge success for those delivering and driving the Whanau Ora kaupapa.
Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has copped some criticism from opposition MPs, demanding proof that Whanau Ora is working. But that and a whole lot more was delivered at the conference.
On day one after Flavell had spoken of the political pot shots Whanau Ora had received, he offered the microphone and stage to Whanau Ora critic Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta to respond. This was politicking by Flavell as well, but this set the tone for an open conversation between those who are on the front line delivering the services and bureacrats in Wellington counting the money.
Mahuta said the spotlight was not on Whanau Ora providers but on the lack of reporting of the successes by Te Puni Kokiri. That put to rest some of the angst Whanau Ora collectives and providers had been feeling.
That was followed up the next day by Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English, who charmed the crowd with his open-minded approach and friendly nature. The money man admitted that the Whanau Ora funding was the most audited funding he had ever seen and those who delivered the services were constantly under the microscope. He admitted that other agencies were nowhere near as accountable. But he promised that moving forward, the government money lens, was about to be placed on all state spending and that Whanau Ora was way ahead of everyone else.
That was great for news for those at the conference who are in this game to make a difference – not be used as political pawns. English said co-investment was coming and those who didn’t get it, would not be part of the next journey.
By that he means, agencies like Te Pou Matakana, and District Health Boards, for instance, would both invest funds into an area, where the outcomes would be of benefit to those within that community.
The government wants everyone to work smart, so there’s no duplications, because in the end, we all want what is best for the community and the government wants value for that money. That doesn’t mean money invested in Whanau Ora won’t be scrutinised as heavily but the likes of Ministry of Social Development, CYFs will be just as accountable. Us in the Whanau Ora space welcome the scruitiny because all we have ever wanted is a level playing field.
Dame Tariana Turia says it’s not a fair playing field saying Whanau Ora should get at least one billion dollars a year given mainstream health gets 16 billion and makes very little difference for Maori. She is spot on its time to give Whanau Ora the opportunity it deserves.
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