Thursday, April 08, 2010

[Update] The trough overflows

money currently spent by health, education, justice and social development agencies be pooled into a Whanau Ora trust

This trust would in turn set up regional panels that would fund a single agency or person to work with families facing problems

Bloody unbelievable. The drought has broken as the trough overflows for those deemed to be of the right gene pool. And we continually have proof where this will all end.

Soon to be ex-National supporters will be ruing the day they ever voted for John Boy Key. Only one ultimate betrayal remains to be implemented. That of handing back the foreshore and seabed.


Views from around the traps

The Stranded
None of this bodes well for Whanau Ora. We’ve seen that corruption is too frequent when public money is dished over to unaccountable, unprofessional organisations.

A commenter

The opportunity for corruption in Whanau Ora is simply breathtaking, and given the frankly poor track record of accountability of Maori NGOs cronyism and corruption must surely follow as night follows day.

It is difficult not to see Whanau Ora as simply brown crony capitalism for the Maori parties support base, a transfer of taxpayer dollars to superfluous middle men who will clip the ticket and pass on inferior services – access to which will become highly dependent on a corrupt web of patronage. Expect lots of Iwi proto-Bainimaramas swaggering about boasting you need to be onside with them to access Whanau Ora cash.

No Right Turn

On the negative side, there are real privacy and human rights concerns here. One of the reasons for the silo mentality among delivery agencies is because (to pick a random example) how well a family's kids are doing at school is none of Housing New Zealand's damn business. Ditto your sexual history and the police. Whanau Ora would either share this information, or concentrate it in the hands of the single contact point. There are also concerns about the privacy and rights of individuals against members of their own families (the report recognises this in cases of pregnancy). This could easily turn into an Orwellian nightmare, in which every family has its own paternalistic dictator, acting with state power to make decisions based on their own moral views rather than the wishes and needs of the family.

Secondly, the scheme's "Whanau goals" are very prescriptive, to the point of social engineering. For example, it seeks to promote not just self-management, health, and participation in society, but also participation in te ao Maori and "Whanau cohesion". To point out the obvious, whether I speak to my mother is no business at all of the government. Neither is what culture you participate in. These things are great for people who want them, but they should not be dictated by the state.

The biggest problem, however, is governance. Using an independent trust will mean that policy advice and the management of the programme is deliberately and consciously divorced from public service norms of professionalism, transparency and accountability.

Lindsay Mitchell
increasing the well-being of the whanau still rests on the individual and his or her efforts


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