Whānau Ora gets $80 million boost

By Kereama Wright

Whānau Ora has been given a lifeline with an $80m boost over four years.

Whānau Ora Minister, Peeni Henare says this initiative aims to increase support for whānau to achieve their aspirations and lift overall wellbeing.

"This will be done through funding the expansion of the Whānau Ora commissioning for outcomes approach to reach more whānau. It will include an increase in the navigator workforce, targeted tamariki support and support to build financial capability."

Whānau Ora supports rangatiratanga and mana of whānau by empowering them to self-determine their needs, aspirations and desired outcomes.

Te Whānau o Waipareira CEO, John Tamihere, says the boost is significant. "This is the most significant funding boost Whānau Ora has received since the Māori Party first funded it in 2009."

Henare says the independent review of Whānau Ora highlighted important opportunities to develop Whānau Ora into the future. "The Wellbeing Budget commits $80 million over four years to expand the coverage and impact of Whānau Ora. This includes increased commissioning activities to provide greater support to whānau and support for improved localised decision-making and accountability." 

The boost brings total Whānau Ora funding to $116 million over four years. 

This is in addition to the existing $35m of operating funding over four years, to apply a Whānau Ora approach to reduce reoffending and improve whānau outcomes and wellbeing. 

The Labour Māori caucus were under pressure to deliver for their voters, but questions are being raised about how much will filter down to the ground. 

Nevertheless, it's a significant boost for Whānau Ora, who didn't receive anything in last year's budget, while the independent review took place.  

Over the next two weeks, the minister will meet with providers and navigators to discuss the way forward.