John Tamihere loses funding fight

SIMON DAY
Last updated 11:22 22/11/2012
John Tamihere
VANITA PRASAD/Fairfax NZ
JOHN TAMIHERE: The former Labour MP heads the Waipareira Trust.

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The termination of the Waipareira Trust's funding by the Ministry of Social Development will stand, the High Court ruled yesterday.

The West Auckland-based Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust, headed by former Labour MP John Tamihere, had sought judicial review of the Government's decision to withdraw funding for their Family Start programme.

The trust was one of five Family Start programme providers to lose their contracts in April because of poor performance.

Family Start was established in 1998 to provide home-based support services to high-needs families to attempt to give them a better start.

Justice Priestley found that Murray Edridge, the deputy chief executive of Family and Community Services, had exercised a contractual right to end the funding.

"There is thus no basis on which I can or should review Mr Edridge's decision," Justice Priestley said.

The ministry said the trust "failed over the two years to meet the performance requirements of the contract despite extensive engagement, monitoring and support".

Tamihere said the trust had reformed its services to reach a high standard.

Although the trust had improved its performance after it had been warned its lagging results could lead to a termination of funding and the improvement was found to be insufficient.

"Mr Edridge's decision... suggest(s) that unfortunately Waipareira had done too little too late. Mr Edridge held legitimate concerns over whether the improvement could be maintained," Justice Priestley said.

The court therefore found the decision to terminate funding was not open to judicial review.

"His decision cannot be attacked as being unfair, unreasonable, biased, or in bad faith."

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