Politics | Whānau Ora

Whānau Ora boss John Tamihere on next week’s budget: ‘I don’t have any hope’

When Whanau Ora chief executive John Tamihere was asked what his expectations for the government budget next Thursday were, je said: “All hope is lost.”

Last year Whānau Ora was allocated $163.1 million in the budget to last for the next four years but Tamihere is confident Māori will draw the short straw this year.

“I don’t have any hope. Our mate from the Hope Foundation does but I don’t.”

Tamihere is saying that thanks to the policies of the Coalition government, the affluent will stand ahead of the poverty-stricken in this year’s budget.

“I think we already know who the winners are going to be. High-earning New Zealanders will be a lot better off. We know this because we’ve run the numbers. So low-income people will get $2 a week, as much as that, and people like the prime minister will end up with hundreds of dollars a week. That’s just rewarding the inequality in this nation.”

Despite his anger towards the government, Tamihere believes Minister Tama Potaka will support Whanau Ora.

“It’s not about Tama, Tama supports it, no doubt, because of the evidence, it’s an evidence-based proposition. There’s no way you can be ruled down for being one of the top performing agencies in social, health and welfare services. So we’ll see how the budget pans out in that regard.”

Whanau Ora will carry on its work for Māori.

“To us, by us, for us. White men’s tools don’t fix brown men’s problems.”

“As soon as the economy goes down, Māori go down with it first. We’re in the bottom of the ship. When the ship goes down, we can’t get to the lifeboats.”