Winston onto another winner


Winston Peters knows exactly how to hit pressure points – yesterday it was Whanau Ora, and probably some time today he will light up on capital gains tax and filthy foreigners.

Northland MP Winston Peters has labelled Whanau Ora a “grubby and cynical deal between National and the Maori Party,” following a scathing report from the Auditor-General and revelations that much of the money had been spent in Maori Ministers’ home territories.

That was a matter of serious concern, Mr Peters said, given the Prime Minister’s rejection of that fact, which had been contained in the Auditor-General’s report.

Mr Key claimed in Parliament last week that there had been “quite a lot of tightening up” of the scheme, but the Auditor-General had found “absolutely no evidence” that good value had been gained from the $140 million spent so far.

“The simple truth is, Whanau Ora is a politically motivated scheme that is squandering public money,” Mr Peters said.

“Mr Key unsuccessfully defended the preferential treatment of his Cabinet Ministers by suggesting a start had to made in some place. This was an undignified sidestep around questions over a scheme that has not stood up to scrutiny.?

“The Auditor-General’s report shows that a third of all Whanau Ora payments went to just two of 10 regions, both the home areas of two former Maori Party Ministers. Nearly a quarter of all individuals getting funding through the WIIE fund between 2010 and 2012 were in Minister of Whanau Ora Tariana Turia’s home territory.

“Whanau Ora has been allowed to evade the usual standards of open and accountable public administration because Mr Key has been focused on shoring up the Maori Party as a support partner. It is a grubby and cynical deal between National and the Maori Party.”

In the history of public expenditure in New Zealand it would be hard to find any other programme that had so little in the way of justification, or evidence to warrant its continued existence, he said, while to describe the objectives of Whanau Ora as vague, amorphous, woolly and unmeasurable was an under-statement.

“At a time of fiscal restraint, widespread cost-cutting and hardship for many families, this so-called programme is deeply offensive to New Zealanders ” to the many Maori who struggle to find work and pay bills, and the many families facing serious stress and who could make good use of extra financial support,” he concluded.

The Maori party is a political corpse really, largely irrelevant and only an election or two away from oblivion.

The largesse may or may not be wasted, because there simply are not the metrics in place to determine if this spending is working or not.

It is fertile ground for the likes of Winston Peters because without clear goals or metrics, it is easy to create conspiracy.

Smart politics…Winston can always sniff a vote winner.

He may be a political charlatan, but he knows how to squeeze someone’s political nuts. Right now he is holding John Keys’ nuts in the palm of his hands


– Northland Age