March 15, 2020
Whanau ora needs to be above political fray
The chief executive of the South Island Whānau Ora commissioning agency, Helen Leahy, hopes the policy won’t be compromised by the return of her North Island counterpart to the political fray.
In standing for the Māori Party in Tāmaki Makaurau, John Tamihere is challenging changes sitting MP and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare is making to the way providers are funded.
Ms Leahy says whānau ora should not be seen as purely a Māori Party kaupapa, and in fact, the first whānau ora-style policy could be said to be the He Korowai Oranga health strategy introduced by Tariana Turia in 2002 when she was Labour’s associate health minister.
“So it’s almost 18 years that whānau ora has been part of core government documents. The Māori Party, National Party, Labour Party, all three must take ownership, must take responsibility, and must care for the future development. It can’t be down to one person. It’s too important for our mokopuna, for our kaumātua, for our whānau to let this go on the basis of political rivalries,” she says.
Helen Leahy says she has no intention of standing for parliament for any party.
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