• Roger Sowry
Social Welfare

The Coalition Government and in particular the Department of Social Welfare has a number of initiatives already in place targeting Maori and child abuse, says Minister of Social Welfare, Hon. Roger Sowry.

Mr Sowry was responding to comments by Labour Opposition spokesperson Steve Maharey.

"I find the Opposition Member's comments insulting given the considerable resources and energy that Government departments are investing to find solutions to prevent abuse of all New Zealand children.

"My Department is making great strides in targeting Maori in particular with its Iwi Social Services strategy, where traditional social services have failed to make a positive difference.

"We are working with various iwi to establish Iwi Social Services and provide them with funding. The services are developed and operated by iwi for iwi."

A total of $1.06 million has been allocated this year to assist the development of Iwi Social Services.

Currently two iwi - Ngati Ruanui in South Taranaki and Tainui in Waikato - have been approved and contracted to deliver specific services.

Just some of the initiatives undertaken by the Department of Social Welfare:

All public relations campaigns run by the Children, Young Persons and their Families Service are communicated in many languages including Maori, Cook Islands Maori, English, Tongan and Samoan.
Iwi Social Services strategy - underway.
Strengthening Families project - currently underway.
"Recognition of Child Abuse and Neglect" handbook launched in June.
10 new Crime Prevention initiatives targeting Maori in last year's Budget. Three of these specifically target family violence issues with funding of $2.1million over three years.
New Crime Prevention initiatives targeting Maori announced in the current Budget - this includes the 'Wraparound' programme
The New Zealand Community Funding Agency contracts to around 150 iwi based providers and 180 pan-tribal providers across the country. NZCFA uses the percentage of Maori in population as an indicator when determining the allocation of resources.

The Government is also addressing the wider issue of efficiency across the Health, Education and Social Welfare sectors in dealing with at-risk youth with its Strengthening Families project.