Māori Health Authority’s Million Dollar Website
The Taxpayers’ Union has uncovered that the newly launched Aroā Wellbeing website, bankrolled by Te Aka Whai Ora (Māori Health Authority), carried a staggering price tag of $1 million. Of this, $300,000 was allocated to the website's actual design and creation. This discovery prompts the Taxpayers’ Union to scrutinize where the remaining $700,000 was directed, especially as the OIA stated that “the Ministry does not hold information on breakdown of costs into areas such as music, voice actors, and graphic design.”
Oliver Bryan, Investigations Coordinator at the Taxpayers' Union, commented, "It's alarming to see such a vast amount of taxpayer money funnelled into a project without clear cost transparency. Allocating close to $300,000 exclusively for the website's design is a tough pill to swallow. The pressing concern lingers – what became of the $700,000? New Zealanders rightly expect a transparent account of these expenditures."
"With a tally of just 47,784 website visits, the expenditure translates to an exorbitant $20 for each single view. This cost is hard to justify given the paltry results. Although they encouraged people to 'share their ideas' for the project, a mere three emails from the 47,000+ visitors have landed in their inbox."
"The concern extends beyond just the monumental sum invested. We need to gauge the benefit this project brings. Given the lacklustre user interaction, it begs the question: are taxpayers truly seeing a worthy return on their investment?”
"Despite a $1.9 billion spend on mental health, Kiwis are still struggling to get the support they need and outcomes have yet to improve. For the cost of this website, the Government could have funded thousands of counselling sessions through a charity or funded more mental health nurses.”