Whānau Ora providers accuse Māori MPs of failing their people

By Heta Gardiner

Whānau Ora providers have accused Māori MPs of failing to represent their people.

Former Labour Minister and current CEO of Te Whānau o Waipareira , John Tamihere accused Māori MPs of being “sell outs” and warned people would vote them out if they didn’t deliver.

He directed most of his criticism at Minister for Whānau Ora, Peeni Henare accusing him of “collaborating” with the Prime Minister and not his people.

 “This Prime Minister is using Peeni like her pet Māori, wheels him out, and wheels him back.”

Tamihere himself was the target of similar criticism as a Labour MP in 2004 when he stuck with his party on the Foreshore and Seabed repeal, this was despite the outpouring of dissent and more than 40 thousand marching to the steps of Parliament in protest.

In front of those gathered at the hui today Tamihere also accused former Prime Minister Helen Clark of treating her Māori MPs as “pets.”

“I was there and I collaborated as well, there was only one person that wasn’t and I’ve spent 15 years of my life trying to redeem myself, but I know what a collaborator look slike and you will see a couple of them come on the marae with the Prime Minister at Turangawaewae.”

 Chair of Te Pou Matakana, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait didn’t mince her words either, “We’ve got Māori members of parliament in there, and what the hell are they doing, where  is their voice raised? We expect Māori members of Parliament to be there to advocate for their people, and that’s not happening and so we’re over it.”

Tait says the Government mislead Whānau Ora providers, “We actually thought we were getting $80 million which was announced in the budget for Whānau Ora, it is not coming to the commissioning agencies, we have had funding slashed, where is it going? Its going into Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki? Why would they go there? Why would you put millions into Government organisations. They’re not the ones who support our people, when you say, we are form the Government we are here to help, our people just glaze over.”

Tamihere who will officially stand down from his current role as he enters the race for the Auckland Mayoralty told Te Ao News, “ you cannot fix a brown mans problem with a white mans tools.”

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare was not available for comment, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lept to the defence of Māori MPs when the claims were put to her at her post-cabinet briefing.

“Of course I would push back on that, in fact I would say that they have been at the centre of acknowledging that over the last 30 years the’ve known that we need to improve the system of care for children and as the Childrens Commissioner said, we have the opportunity now with the reforms that are in place for Oranga Tamariki to fundamentally change the way we deal with children who may potentially come into state care.”