Call for probe into $600,000 pay­ment by Wh¯anau Ora

Bay of Plenty Times - - Nation - Lucy Ben­nett One News

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.”

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