Turia: Gang misuse of Whanau Ora fund one-off

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 07:38 23/11/2012
tariana std
ANDY JACKSON/Taranaki Daily News
TARIANA TURIA: "We have not had people taking money and utilising it for the wrong reasons."

Relevant offers

Politics

Police: No 'exceptional circumstances' to charge Malcolm Rewa with murder after Teina Pora's conviction was quashed Climate change 'most serious' environmental issue for New Zealand - report Student achievement is improving in New Zealand but internationally Kiwis are slipping - report England lose to Iceland, John Key puts off call to David Cameron Officials reviewing P contamination guidelines, as expert says risk overstated Vodafone debt 'like being locked into high fixed-interest mortgage' says expert What does the law say about cyber bullying? Pharmac poised to fund melanoma drug Keytruda subject to feedback Damning inquiry 'misinterpreted', says State Services Minister Paula Bennett 'Cloud' technologies prompt Search & Surveillance Act review

Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia says the incident in which a gang member misused $20,000 of funding from her flagship scheme to buy cannabis is an isolated one.

Korrey Teeati Cook was last week jailed for four years on charges of dishonesty and supplying cannabis.

The 36-year-old Dunedin Notorious Mongrel Mob member was recorded by police telling associates the chapter was a model for other branches to get Whanau Ora funding which it used to run the We Against Violence Trust.

Mrs Turia yesterday fronted media about Cook's imprisonment, after saying in May that there was no evidence gang members misused Whanau Ora funding.

She said Cook's was a a very isolated case. "We have not had people taking money and utilising it for the wrong reasons."

Cook's trust had been caught because it had not taken money out for wages, instead transferring a lump sum to a private account to buy cannabis.

"Had they utilised the funding to pay wages to themselves, then there would have been no issue in terms of the use of the money."

The trust had achieved four of the five goals it was working towards, Mrs Turia said.

She defended the accountability of the scheme, saying there were "good processes" to pick up any misuse.

The $34 million-a-year scheme, described as supporting Maori families to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing, has been criticised as being difficult to define.

Its Whanau Integration, Innovation and Engagement Fund hit the headlines this year for funding family reunions and a rugby club.

A review in September found the fund was not ready to be properly evaluated as its processes were "still evolving".

Whanau Ora governance group chairman Sir Mason Durie said there were "one or two incidents" where more clarification on what was a good outcome was needed.

"Knowing about outcomes, particularly in the social area, is new territory. So we are really struggling a little bit in territory which is yet to be fully defined."

Mrs Turia said there were some "incredible stories" about Whanau Ora's success and the media could be "more balanced" in its reporting.

However, the families involved did not want their experiences made public.

Sir Mason said one school was providing a Whanau Ora approach to its educational programme but he could not name the school.

NZ First leader Winston Peters, who labelled Whanau Ora a "bro-ocracy", accused Mrs Turia of "waffling about inanities" when the scheme was "seriously flawed".

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Where do you stand on political coat-tail riding?

If it gets marginalised voices into Parliament, I'm for it.

I'm against it - if you don't get the votes, you shouldn't be there.

It's just part of the political game.

Vote Result

Related story: Voters reject riding on the coat-tails

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content