Willie Jackson angst for MUMA Whānau Ora provider

By Mānia Clarke

Labour list candidate Willie Jackson has asked for an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss the government's plans for his Whānau Ora community provider. This follows comments by Associate Housing Minister Alfred Ngaro suggesting that Jackson could lose funding support for MUMA if he bags National on the election campaign.

The MUMA CEO has had huge concerns following Alfred Ngaro's latest comments.

"Our provider has huge concerns now.  We have many staff working there every day.  They've got many questions now and they're scared because it's really different views coming from this minister," said Jackson.

Newsroom reported that Ngaro told National party faithfuls about Jackson's interest in a second charter school.

"He has put another application for another Kura that is a Charter School. Their MUMA has taken a contract with Whānau Ora."

"We are not happy about people taking with one hand and throwing with the other.  Do not play politics with us. If you get up on the campaign trail and start bagging us, then all the things you are doing are off the table. They will not happen," it stated. 

Jackson said, "It's sad to hear Alfred say these things, because it's right for us to oppose the government all the time. It's not right for Alfred to speak like that to myself, to the various communities."

However, Prime Minister Bill English expressed his disapproval at Alfred's comments saying it was wrong.  He welcomes Mr Jackson's participation and if he applies he'll be considered on his merits like everybody else.

"We're waiting on Alfred to speak to us.  Although he's apologised to his ministers, he hasn't spoken to us."

In a statement, Minister Ngaro told Te Kaea, “My comments were a bit naive, poorly worded and I absolutely regret what I said.”