Whanau Ora money used to buy drugs.
Money from the Government's Whanau Ora program has been used by gang members to buy cannabis for drug deals, police say.Police documents presented to Dunedin District Court on Wednesday say the Mongrel Mob used about $20,000 of Whanau Ora money to fund a drug shipment from Auckland to the South Island in March, the Otago Daily Times reports.
Michael Logan Wong-Tong, 26, of Turangi, was one of four men charged jointly with conspiracy to sell cannabis. He has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in October.Police say they discovered $20,000 was misappropriated from the We Against Violence Trust - which had a contract with Te Puni Kokori (the Maori Development Ministry) to deliver services via the Whanau Ora program until April - during their investigation into drug smuggling.
Whanau Ora is jointly administered by the Ministries of Social Development and Maori Development. Last year's Budget allocated $30 million to Whanau Ora, adding to the $134 million over four years provided in 2010.
This is what race based funding in New Zealand gets you. Guys like these getting access to $20,000 of tax dollars. I’d hate to think what going on that we don’t know about.
Pro patria, pro liberis, pro aris atque focis suis
Sallust, 86-34 b.c.
Te Papa Takaro has become a leading trainer for Whanau Ora workers on how to use a whanau planning system called PATH (Planning Alternative Tomorrows with Hope), a Canadian model adapted for Maori by Auckland researcher Kataraina Pipi.
It held an introductory weekend on a marae last October and has followed up with 30 whanau.
"The PATH planning is about dreaming," says Mr Te Hurihanganui. "One of the guys, his main goal was to smile because he hadn't smiled for 20 years. So we put in a plan about him smiling so he could feel better about himself, and then he could reconnect with his family, which he had been separated from because of his addictions."
The money involved in developing such plans is tiny in the context of, say, the country's $22 billion welfare bill. About 0.2 per cent of that, or $40 million a year, is going into Whanau Ora to help the consortiums develop more integrated systems and to help families develop whanau plans. But there are still questions about whether taxpayers' money is going to the most needy families.
The Te Arawa programme of action says Whanau Ora is aimed at "whanau with a range of needs (high, complex, moderate, low)".
"Whanau Ora is for everybody," says Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, who chairs the Te Arawa regional leadership group.
"I believe that every Maori family should have a whanau plan."
The programme of action says whanau aspirations include "reunions, haerenga [trips], trips to ancestral sites of significance" and "strengthening te reo Maori".
Whanau Ora: Sport and fitness open path to a better life - National - NZ Herald News