Whanau Ora gave welfare to nearly 50k people

  • 07/09/2015
Minister in charge of Whanau Ora, Te Ururoa Flavell (Simon Wong/3 News)
Minister in charge of Whanau Ora, Te Ururoa Flavell (Simon Wong/3 News)

Whanau Ora was delivering welfare to nearly 50,000 people in June last year, the agency says in the first full report on its activities.

Its services were reaching 9408 whanau comprising 49,625 individuals - 64 percent Maori, 14 percent Pasifika, 10 percent European and two percent other ethnicities.

The welfare delivery agency was founded by Dame Tariana Turia just over four years ago and the report covers its first three years.

In May this year Auditor-General Lyn Provost criticised it 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.

The report, released today, says that of the 9408 whanau, 58 percent were being helped by its own welfare workers, called navigators.

The rest were engaged with connected agencies such as health, education and social services.

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.

In most cases, navigators were able to show them how to better access social services.

Te Ururoa Flavell, the minister in charge of Whanau Ora, says the report shows the family- centred approach has been successful.

"It has led to immediate and longer-term gains for whanau, including those previously seen as 'hard to reach'," he said.

Prime Minister John Key says he hasn't read the report yet, but says it is good that people are accessing more services.