The government will treat any application for Whanau Ora funding from Destiny Church in the same manner as other requests, Prime Minister John Key said today.
Maori politicians including National MP Tau Henare, Labour MP Shane Jones, Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira were invited to speak at the church's annual conference in Auckland on Saturday.
Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki indicated the church was interested in government contracts including for Whanau Ora -- a Maori Party flagship policy designed to improve efficiency of social services by lessening replication, and improving co-ordination between providers.
The programme focuses on families' needs as a whole rather than responding only to a specific individual.
About 25 collectives involving 158 health and social service providers have begun to deliver Whanau Ora.
Destiny Church has attracted criticism in the past over its controversial stance on homosexuality and claims from former churchgoers that it is a money-making venture.
Mr Key said the church could bid for contracts.
"They'd have to go and bid like anybody else, that's a matter for those that determine those contracts," he said.
"But from our perspective, they are one of many, many people who have put their name forward for a contract -- in the end the officials decide that."
Dr Sharples said the church ran some good social welfare and education programmes.
He would not commit to backing calls for funding but said he would "certainly listen" to any formal request.
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei was not invited to the weekend event.
"I'm disappointed he (Bishop Tamaki) didn't give his people the chance to hear the breadth of political views but the Destiny Church is very intolerant and many of their values are quite at odds from the Greens. We would have had to have talked about that and it would have been uncomfortable for them.
"I'm not sure I would have gone if I'd got an invitation."
Mr Henare told reporters this morning it was "freaky" when churchgoers laid their hands on the MPs in prayer during the conference.
"I expected steam to come off," he said.
This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags
Most listened to
- Ben Kepes on what's behind MYOB's $A180m Reckon deal
- Ngati Manawa spokesman Kani Edwards discusses what a water bottling deal means for Murupara
- Hamilton Hindin Greene's Tom McBride discusses the week's market highs and lows
- Companies are more aware and prepared for cyber attacks but don't want to tell anyone, says Aura's Peter Bailey
- Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts wants Labour to unveil more details about the tourism tax
- NBR Radio: The best interviews, with Grant Walker – updated daily