The head of Maori and indigenous studies at Canterbury University believes Whanau Ora has lost its focus on Maori and is being used to justify major changes to welfare delivery across the board.
Rawiri Taonui says the Maori Party talked up the initiative last year as a way to devolve services and decision-making to Maori.
But on Tuesday, Prime Minister John Key said Whanau Ora will be available to all New Zealanders who are in need.
Mr Taonui told Waatea News that shows the policy has been captured by mainstream departments - to the detriment of the kaupapa.
He said there will be no change in negative Maori statistics unless the Government tackles issues of inter-generational poverty, structural racism and Maori rights.