28 Aug 2012

Crown agent's assessment disputed

7:23 pm on 28 August 2012

A court has heard a Maori welfare provider lost a Government contract after a poor assessment by a Crown agent with no experience in social services.

Te Whanau O Waipareira Trust has taken a case against the Ministry of Social Development over the loss of its Family Start programme - which delivers support to at-risk families with babies.

On the second day of the hearing, the High Court in Auckland was told a ministry assessor who examined the trust was a funding and planning manager, and had no background in social work.

Trust head John Tamihere says paperwork was looked at, but there were no checks on whanau.

He says that it's "dumb" that the Ministry doesn't go out to see whether there's a real family.

Mr Tamihere says he could - theoretically - make up families and create a bogus file that reflects well on the trust.

The case continues until the end of the week.