2 Nov 2009

Maori Affairs Minister has more pilots in mind

10:51 pm on 2 November 2009

The Minister of Maori Affairs is planning more pilot schemes to shift resources from mainstream to Maori health providers.

Waatea News reports Pita Sharples believes the move will help break the dependency many Maori families have on government agencies.

Last week he launched the Kaitoko Whanau scheme to help families interact with government agencies.

Next up will be the Oranga Whanau, which will use kuia to work with new mothers and young families and get them the help and support they need.

Dr Sharples says the pilots funded from his Te Puni Kokiri budget are a taster for the Maori Party's Whanau Ora policy, which aims to shift up to $1 billion from the health budget.

Proposal to alleviate child poverty

Meanwhile, an economist from the Child Poverty Action Group says changing the rules for Working For Families could help cushion thousands of Maori children from the recession.

Dr Susan St John says the Ministry of Social Development's 2009 report indicates child poverty is up 6%, a figure which includes a disproportionate number of Maori.

She told Waatea News says making beneficiaries eligible for Working for Families would mitigate the economic downturn.

Dr St John says the report indicates major work needs to be done in housing and health to address some of the causes of poverty.