TAHUA 2018: National slams zero funding for Whānau Ora

By Talisa Kupenga

National MP Jo Hayes says not allocating budget funds to Whānau Ora because it's under review is a cop-out by government as key portfolios also under review received funding.

However, Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare sticks by the decision.

National’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Jo Hayes says it's not good enough that Whānau Ora funding was overlooked because of a review.

"It's just an excuse.  It's poor performance on behalf of the minister.  He still could have fought at that Cabinet table for funds for Whānau Ora".

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare says, "There are a lot of issues we are targeting as government so for her to say Māori will be completely left in the cold because of no funding to Whānau Ora is rubbish".

Hayes says other areas under review received funding so this is a double standard.

"They have over 100 reviews that this government is doing- a couple of those are education and health, the biggest winners of this budget".

Key stakeholders were expecting $20mil, as promised by Labour during the election.  Henare says that commitment was re-assessed because of the coalition.

"When we formed a government with New Zealand First we had to decide together which key areas would be prioritised," says Henare.

But Hayes says she understands people within the sector were told by the minister last year not to expect anything in the budget, before the budget was set.

She says, "Why would a minister of the Crown, after seeing the manifesto for the election campaign, already know that his government wasn't going to give anything to Whānau Ora back then?"

Henare says he informed stakeholders for his intention to review Whānau Ora but refutes claims he discussed budget expectations.