16 Feb 2010

Whanau Ora to be available to all - Bennett

11:48 am on 16 February 2010

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has gone on the offensive over the Maori Party's flagship families programme Whanau Ora, saying it will be accessible to all.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, who has been heading the development of the policy, has made it clear its target is Maori, and if other other ethnic groups like the policy they could develop their own model.

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand families of any race will be able to access Whanau Ora programmes, and denies the policy will benefit only Maori.

Ms Bennett denies there's any conflict between National and the Maori Party over the policy, and says any misunderstanding has been built up by the media.

The programmes, part of the support agreement between the National and Maori parties, are to be aimed at assisting families in need directly, through one funding agency, rather than several agencies working separately. Funding is to to be announced in the Budget in May.

Labour's deputy leader Annette King told Morning Report the policy is a shambles and it can't be discussed properly until it is defined.