Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mike Butler: The runanga and the missing money

A Maori health provider was in the news on Wednesday, April 7, 2010, the day before the launch of the much-vaunted Whanau Ora Maori-managed welfare programme, over unaccounted health funding. Waikanae's Te Runanga O Te Ati Awa Ki Whakarongotai has been asked by Capital and Coast District Health Board to return $590,000 of funding, the Dominion Post reported.

Under the Whanau Ora scheme, up to $1-billion a year will be devolved to 20 Maori social service providers around New Zealand to provide a one-stop shop for vulnerable families in the delivery of housing and benefits, as well as justice, the police and truancy services. Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia has not responded to criticism that the scheme would deliver a mammoth annual cash flow to tribal authorities to dip into as they see fit, while creating an expensive, duplicate Maori social services structure alongside the existing system.

The Dominion Post reported that Waikanae's Te Runanga O Te Ati Awa Ki Whakarongotai was in chaos, with different groups claiming governance. In that report, a deputy chairman of one of the groups rejected the Capital and Coast District Health Board figures and said the money was not missing. Yet the chairman of a rival group said there had been no governance meetings since 2008 and no one knew what was going on.

Included in the $590,000 was $200,000 invested as a term deposit, a $140,000 advance to the runanga, a $176,362 advance to a failed cafe and craft shop at Lindale on the Kapiti Coast, a $74,000 advance to Te Ati Awa Ki Whakarongotai Charitable Trust and a further $50,000 was used to pay "trade debtors", the Dominion Post report said.

Retired Detective Inspector Doug Brew, acting for the police, said that an official investigation had not been launched. A worrying aspect was that a Capital and Coast Maori Health Development accountability manager said: “An official complaint would not be made because the failings were due to naivety and inability”.

How much “naivety and inability” is going to dog the Whanau Ora scheme when it is rolled out?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is an outrageous state of affairs - if the providers had been pakeha, the cops and authorities would be all over them. This form of covert racism is a blight on our society. These groups should be hung out to dry otherwise the signal it sends is that it is OK to steal other people's money - if you are Maori!