14 Nov 2011

Maori Party committed to growing Whanau Ora

11:15 pm on 14 November 2011

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says her caucus is committed to growing Whanau Ora in future.

The comment comes after the National Party said it won't guarantee the expansion of the policy in the coming three years if it leads the next government.

National told Radio New Zealand during an election debate on Monday morning that Whanau Ora is not a part of its policy.

Whanau Ora is a flagship policy of the Maori Party. It was launched last year with a start-up fund of $134 million, to deliver social services to at-risk families.

Mrs Turia says the expansion of the policy will form a key part of its post-election negotiations.

"Whanau Ora is about turning that all around and basically placing the control back into the hands of the family," she says.

"And why wouldn't we invest in that? Why would we continue to grow providers who in fact have developed an industry out of the misery of Maori and Pacific peoples."

She questions why National wouldn't continue to expand a concept that empowers at-risk families.