Flavell suprised by Labour's new Whānau Ora package

By Heeni Brown

Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis says they are pledging to give Whānau Ora an extra $20 million and a Whānau Ora Reviewer, but Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says more is needed.

Labour Māori MPs claim their $20 million booster package will strengthen Whānau Ora and the Independent Reviewer they want at a cost of $500,000 will be responsible to Parliament for notification of where changes are needed.

Kelvin Davis says, "Under our $5 billion budget for vulnerable families is where that Whānau Ora funding will come from."

The funding for the reviewer will come out of operational funding, but Te Ururoa Flavell says under law there is already one in place.

"When a five-year term is up, a new reviewer will come in and assess what is needed so there is no substance to Labour's new policy."

In 2015, Whānau Ora secured almost $50 million in funding for 230 navigators to 2019. In 2016, it received an extra $40 million to 2020. In 2017, it got another booster of $10mil for new operating funding to 2021.

"I'm surprised at Labour because for many years they've been trying to pull Whānau Ora down," says Flavell.

Davis hopes the Māori Party will be receptive to their new policy. Meanwhile, Flavell says Māori voters need to be wary of how mainstream parties handle Māori policies like Whānau Ora.