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Ed Sheeran

Warden money swallowed into admin

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The New Zealand Māori Council is challengingt the way Te Puni Kōkiri administers Māori wardens.

Tāmaki Makaurau District Māori Council chair Matthew Tukaki says wardens are often the first line of contact between whānau in crisis and government agencies, and more needs to be done to increase their capacity and capability.

A report by Mr Tukaki based on answers to official Information Act requests says in the 2015-16 financial year Te Puni Kokiri got $1.6 million to manage its wardens project, and paid itself almost half the money for administration and staff costs.

The following year the budget was cut to $1 million, with almost $600,000 spent on admin and $330,000 on project staff.

"Which begs the question, how much money is going to our wardens? Because they're a voluntary workforce, they're the heart and soul of our communities, so are we investing enough into not only the current Māori wardens but getting that new generation of Māori wardens, that younger generation of rangatahi through, as more of our Māori wārdens age," Mr Tukaki says.

He says Te Puni Kōkiri seems uninterested in working with the council, even though district Māori councils have responsibility under the 1962 Māori Community Development Act to warrant and oversee the wardens.

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