Key: Govt's Whanau Ora funding will continue

  • 08/09/2015
John Key (Simon Wong/3 News)
John Key (Simon Wong/3 News)

By Peter Wilson

Prime Minister John Key has given an assurance Whanau Ora will continue to be funded by the Government.

The agency yesterday released its first report since it was established just over four years ago, showing that in 2014 it was delivering welfare to 9408 whanau comprising 49,625 individuals.

"I think it's looking good, it looks positive," Mr Key told reporters.

"It's our intention to continue supporting it."

Whanau Ora was founded by Dame Tariana Turia to be a family-focused welfare provider, mainly for Maori.

It's been controversial, and NZ First leader Winston Peters has been its most vocal critic.

He says the report doesn't show whether the people most in need of help are receiving it.

"I think it's a lot of psycho-babble, it's not a serious analysis," he said on Radio New Zealand.

In May this year Auditor-General Lyn Provost criticised the agency for spending a third of its $137.6 million funding on administration, and said it was difficult to describe what it was or what it had achieved.

However, she said her audit discovered it had been a success for many families.

The agency said in response that its establishment period had necessarily meant high administrative costs.

Whanau Ora takes an overall, family-based approach to welfare rather than dealing with individuals.

The report says that between 2012 and 2014, 67 percent of whanau achieved the goals they set for themselves.

The goals included increased capability through learning skills, better employment prospects, improved financial planning, better housing and improved access to health services.