Tamihere and Bennett in war of words
Mon, 11 Feb 2013 6:11p.m.
By Jane Luscombe
A spat's broken out between former Labour MP John Tamihere and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett over a $1.4-million government contract.
At the centre of the dispute are vulnerable children from at-risk families.
Desiree Ngatai knows the importance of some well timed support for a young family. Hers is one of 270 on the books of the Waipareira Family Start programme, funded by the Government to the tune of more than $1.4 million.
“There's Maoris out there that don't know where to go, what to do. I didn't. I came here from Hastings. I didn't know Auckland,” says Ms Ngatai.
The Waipareira Trust did, but was one of the worst performing Family Start providers in the country and had its contract ripped up.
It fought in court, and lost.
Now its chief executive, Mr Tahimere, is fighting again – accusing the Social Development Ministry of failing those same families by refusing to work with his trust.
“I don't want these people to be the meat in the sandwich. Since November we've been wanting them to transition. At the end of the day, we've not got the resources to support them. You have so look after them,” he says.
However, Ms Bennett says Mr Tamihere has been “playing games”.
“He has fought them the whole way and he could have been doing a transition period instead. He has been playing games and this is where we have ended up,” she says.
Families who were in the programme are now in limbo.
“They've got big social issues, and without people connected to them, services connected to them, they will fall through the gaps,” says Waipareira Family Start leader Susan Hughes.
Mr Tamihere says he'll hold Ms Bennett responsible if any children are harmed, but the minister says it’s Mr Tamihere who needs to take responsibility.
“Perhaps John Tamihere should stand up and take personal responsibility for kids that quite frankly have been hurt under his watch while that programme was supposed to be working,” she says.
But it doesn't finish there. Mr Tamihere is taking the case to the Court of Appeal and is threatening to go all the way to the Supreme Court if he has to.
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13/02/2013 8:20:22 p.m.
All i see is the bickering that caused the gap is still continuing, causeing the gap to widen.The truth is that neither Bennette nor Tamahere are any good on their own.BUT together they could find solutions rather than creating more problems.They both claim to want the same things for our babies and the futre of Aotearoa.Who better to do it than two of Aotearoa own finest.Work together to keep us together.Your boss can't be trusted.
12/02/2013 1:48:27 p.m.
look tv3 how to you expect me to take some one like paula seriously a person who lived on the dpb almost all her life and welfare then when she gets into parliament she sings a completly diffrent tune . so dont force her on me becouse she has no credibility she was a life long welfare recipient whom had it not been for welfare would not be were she is today . fair enough i think .
11/02/2013 9:33:07 p.m.
Like Desiree alot of families benefited from these services and failing these families is because they have had some input but now its being taken away,ripped out from under them. They are failing them because the families want to keep there kaimahi but are not allowed, like alot of contracts. They were not one of the worst performing family start providers that just isn't true. That programme was working but "the contract was ripped up" before the time given to remedy earlier hiccups. Like alot of Maori provider contracts, set up to fail or way under funded, eg; DSM 1 nurse 3 disease states.Mainstream, 1 disease state a specialist and a team for a respiratory patient?? Wake up and smell the coffee people ! !
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