15 Sep 2015

Whanau Ora has potential - report

8:17 pm on 15 September 2015

The Productivity Commission's report into social services has found Whanau Ora has a lot of potential.

The final report on the country's social services is urging major reform, including enabling Maori to create change for themselves.

Maori are overrepresented among those with poor outcomes, with this report noting not a lot has changed in the past 24 years.

The commission found Whanau Ora had a lot of the characteristics wanted for an effective service delivery model.

Chair Murray Sherwin said it was promising.

"It's a devolved commissioning model, it's client centric, it's working with the wider whanau in a sense that to grow a child you need the whole village involved. We think that's very positive.

"It's been struggling to get up and running and that's one of the challenges of a system like Whanau Ora running alongside the existing systems. But there is a lot in there that we think has promise and could develop in a way which is highly compatible with what we're recommending here."

The report recommended the government to take a step back from 'deciding for' Maori and be open to opportunities for Maori to exercise authority over services.

It said the question of how best to give responsibility to Maori was open but that iwi and urban Maori groups were obvious candidates for the commissioning of social services.

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