Saturday, April 10, 2010

Will Whanau Ora lead to job losses?

John Armstrong comments:
The problem is that nursemaiding dysfunctional families is prohibitively expensive. How much money Turia, wearing the new title of Whanau Ora Minister, has actually extracted from the Finance Minister will not be known until closer to the Budget.

The other question is how much of that will be swallowed up in the administration of what will be a complex scheme which, in parts of the country lacking iwi-based social service organisations, could see a new tier of frontline welfare workers. That begs the question of what happens to the ones already supposedly doing the job.

English has brushed that no small matter aside, saying the fate of existing staff in social service agencies is tied up with the ongoing restructuring of the state sector.
So does that mean that the fight for Whanau Ora contracts is part of this restructuring, and those that are already doing the job will no longer do so? I’ve read the Report of the Taskforce on Whanau-centred Initiatives, 71-page vision statement, and I’ve read some of it before, in Mason Durie’s books. While the report is helpful to a Māori audience, this report was for the Government and comments like “ Whanau Ora is anything we want it to be, anything we can dream it to be, so that whanau are empowered to be the best they can be”, and “Kia whai taangata e mohio ana ki nga taha Māori me te taha Kawana”, and Whanau Ora is going to take us there and it has been since the beginning of time” are too idealistic - even trite. Where’s the analysis?

While it could be true that results of Whanau Ora may well not be worse than current outcomes, that does not necessarily mean it will be any better either. It appears we won’t know for a long time yet, way after the next election.




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