Call for probe into $600,000 payment by Wh¯anau Ora
The chairman of the National Ma¯ori Authority has called for the Auditor-General to look into how Ma¯ori services agency Wha¯nau Ora allowed a $600,000 surplus to be paid to a private shareholder.
The revelation, which emerged at a parliamentary committee this week, has led to sniping between Wha¯nau Ora Minister Peeni Henare and his colleague Associate Ma¯ori Affairs Minister Willie Jackson.
National’s Wha¯nau Ora spokeswoman Jo Hayes, during a hearing into the annual review of Te Puni Ko¯kiri (TPK), the Ministry of Ma¯ori Development this week, said she was concerned that one of Wha¯ nau Ora’s three commissioning agencies — Te Pou Matakana — gave a $600,000 surplus to its major shareholder the National Urban Ma¯ori Authority.
TPK’S chief adviser Nancy Tuaine told the Ma¯ori Affairs select committee that once the commissioning agency had met its contractual requirements, it could do what it chose with any surplus.
Following Wednesday’s hearing, TPK chief executive Michelle Hippolite said she would talk to the commissioning agencies to find out what has happened and would follow it up.
Yesterday National Ma¯ori Authority chairman Matthew Tukaki called for Hippolite to pay for an investigation into the payment.
TPK administers the Wha¯nau Ora funding for providers to give health support to Ma¯ori.
Tukaki said the AuditorGeneral must be called in and an independent investigation launched.
“It’s hard to accept that with dozens or hundreds of contractors and consultants that an agency so important to Ma¯ori could continue to bungle its way through our affairs,” he said.
Henare, who was meeting Te Pou Matakana yesterday, told
on Thursday he would prefer to see the money reinvested:“We’re talking about public money here. There is a demand in the public that there is accountability and transparency so it’s only fair that I ask those questions.”