NGOs to distribute Whanau Ora funds

21:07, Jul 16 2013

Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia has outlined a new structure for her flagship social programme, in which Te Puni Kokiri will lose responsibility for distributing money.

Three yet to be established non- government organisations (NGOs) will distribute Whanau Ora funds to the North Island, South Island and Pacific communities, a structure which could mean more of the activities escape the scrutiny of the Official Information Act.

Turia said the new structure would put a greater focus on delivering results for families.

For years the public sector had been "dreaming up different proposals, different products [but] . . . we still have families in very dire straits", she said.

Most community schemes sponsored by the public sector were focused solely on outcomes. "We're really tired of watching lots of money going down the tubes, on our behalf . . . rather than letting us determine our way forward."

She did not know whether the NGOs would be subject to scrutiny under the act.

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Te Puni chief executive Michelle Hippolite said the matter was still being determined.

Turia said the programmes would still be open to public scrutiny from the people within.

"The families provide that scrutiny, the families are very clear about what their expectation is of this programme."

Whanau Ora has come under heavy political scrutiny, mainly from NZ First leader Winston Peters, who claims the money is being wasted.

Yesterday he said giving the NGOs responsibility for spending the cash before their shape and membership had been established was a sign of "panic".

The Dominion Post