Who’s Telling Porkies Paula?
John Tamihere has launched another stinging attack on Social Development Minister Paula Bennett and her officials
claiming her – or them – were not truthful about transitioning whanau from Waipareira’s Family Start Programme.
Tamihere said Court of Appeal documents supplied to Waipareira by MSD lawyers proved the ministry approved providers
were not ready to take on board Waipareira’s 260 Family Start families. Waipareira were told new providers would take
over whanau from February 1, 2013, but documents tendered to the Appeal Court by the MSD show they only signed off
contracts with some providers on February 8, 2013 and what’s more alarmingly is a full and complete service would not be
operating out west until April 1, 2013.
“You do not have a service for my people to be transitioned into,” Tamihere wrote in an email to Paula Bennett on
“It is clear either you or your officials are not telling the truth.
“You have the knowledge that 260 families are knowingly without a service from 1st February, 2013 to the 1st April,
“You have knowingly endorsed that these families will fall between the cracks.”
Last week, the Waipareira boss put the Minister – who just arrived home today from the US where she spoke about the
Family Start programme - on notice that he would hold her personally responsible if any harm or abuse happened to the
families previously cared for by the Trust.
Waipareira Trust Board chairperson Josie Smith said some families from the Waipareira programme who had been getting the
Early Learning payment (ELP) subsidy would no longer receive that. “Many families will have that funding cut,” Josie
“This is not about Waipareira but has always been about the whanau.”
The ELP contributed towards early childhood education for children aged 18 months to three years. Josie said those
whanau should not be penalised because they were with a Maori provider. Last year, the High Court upheld the decision by
MSD to end Waipareira’s $1.5m Family Start contract.
Te Whanau O Waipareira is appealing the MSD termination in the Appeal Court.