Māori leaders say Whānau Ora is failing, take legal action against Government

An urgent claim has been filed to the Waitangi Tribunal by five Māori leaders alleging Treaty of Waitangi breaches by the Crown and declaring no confidence in Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare.

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Among the claimants is Dame Tariana Turia who told TVNZ1’s Breakfast there is a better way forward. Source: Breakfast

In the 2017 election, Labour won all seven Māori seats, the first time since 2002. Part of Labour’s Māori campaign platform for that year included a $20 million funding increase over four years for Whānau Ora. 

One of the five leaders is Dame Tariana Turia, she told TVNZ1’s Breakfast there has been a lot of rhetoric, but no action. 

"It certainly has come about because there is a huge dissatisfaction for the Minister of Whānau Ora.

Dame Tariana says Whānau Ora has also seen none of that $20 million.

“I think sadly instead of seeing this as a positive opportunity for families to take back responsibility for themselves they are seeing it as a Māori party initiative," she said. 

Dame Tariana says it's not a Māori party initiative. 

"This is an initiative that came from the people and I think the mere fact that given the opportunity to do for themselves they are doing very well and we should be supporting that given the very poor reports that we’ve had around families and their wellbeing."

The five claimants are Dame Tariana Turia, Dame Naida Glavish, Lady Tureiti Moxon, Merepeka Raukawa-Tait and Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi.

Dame Tariana believes the Government is reluctant to see a situation where initiatives for Māori should be by Māori.

“The fact of it is, Labour has always believed that the state should provide. Now we know that the state has not actually been good for us as a people and we want to get on with it ourselves," she said.

"The Government has to learn to trust the people. They haven’t done a very good job, you look at the numbers of our people who are in jail, the numbers of our people who are losing their children to Oranga Tamariki, the poor health status of Māori people.

"At some point you have to believe there is a better way forward."