Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Māori Budget bumps up investment in whānau, whare and whakapapa

The Māori Budget continues investment in whānau wellbeing, access to whare, and whakapapa, all of which support the Government’s plan to address the cost of living, Minister for Te Arawhiti Kelvin Davis said today.

The total Māori investment package this year is just over $825 million.

“We continue to put our best foot forward for our whānau. With six Māori Ministers within Cabinet, we bring whānau voice to the decision-making table,” said Minister Davis.

Māori Development Minister, Willie Jackson said this year’s Budget shouldn’t come as a surprise to New Zealand’s māori communities.

“Previous budgets have always revolved around whānau. Over the past few years Māori have responded to crises, from supporting each other through a global pandemic, to the response and recovery from the devastation of Cyclone Gabrielle. In these tough times economic resilience and security are more important than ever,” Mr Jackson said.

Minister Jackson announced a new $200 million investment through the Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga programme, for long-term housing supply, capability building and whare repairs.

“Today marks another vital step on the journey to delivering better Māori housing for our whānau,” he said.

“With the cost-of-living pressures across the motu, the Government’s investment across the Māori housing continuum will ensure whānau can get access to safe, dry and affordable homes. Through this investment the Government is contributing to a range of housing solutions that will be delivered by Māori for Māori.

“Since last year, the Government has approved or contracted 1,018 homes, enabled 1,615 infrastructure sites, and made repairs 415 to existing homes, so more of our whānau get into their own whare.”

The Government will also extend Te Ringa Hāpai Whenua Fund, which enables landowners to undertake whenua-based economic, cultural, social and environmental projects. This investment is over $23 million over four years, Minister Jackson confirmed.

“By supporting whānau to unlock the full potential of their whenua, we are supporting communities to become more resilient, including adapting to current cost of living pressures. Whenua Māori development creates regional jobs and enables Māori landowners to strengthen their economic security and prosperity,” he said.

“Moreover, we are providing more funding to Aotearoa’s largest administrator of whenua Māori – Te Tumu Paeroa to ensure landowners can develop their land in line with modern regulations. A further $8 million will be funded to Te Tumu Paeroa to support whenua Māori owners to take proactive steps to comply with ongoing regulatory changes.”

Minister for Whānau Ora, Peeni Henare said the Government will commit a further $168.1 million over four years to ensure immediate needs of communities are met, while working alongside them to meet their long term aspirations. This longer-term, resilience building support is even more crucial during a time when the cost of essential items has increased, he said.

“We have previously invested in Ngā Tini Whetu, a programme to support pēpi and māmā during their first 1000 days. The programme has changed the wellbeing of these families for the better, we are seeing families take up trade apprenticeships, getting back to studies, financial literacy classes, counselling, substance abuse support, and small business training.”

“This year’s budget will see the programme expand to support more whānau.

“I take my hat off to our Whānau Ora Provider Collective who are out there getting on with the mahi, this extra funding is for you to continue putting in the care and effort for our people.

“The Whānau Ora kaupapa belongs to our people, Government’s job is to support the kaupapa, and I am proud of our commitment to increase the Whānau Ora budget by 145 percent since we came into Government,” Mr Henare said.

Hauora funding of $132 million will continue to fund Māori Health providers including cheaper access to primary care, innovation funds for data, more rongoā services, and provide workforce development.

“Whānau should expect to see more prevention work for Long Term Conditions, HIV, and Cancer. In addition, we want to see by Māori for Māori solutions for these services, and for priority population groups – kaumātua, taiohi, rangatahi and tāngata whaikaha.”

“I am also pleased to see the finalisation and recognition of the first 11 iwi-Māori partnership boards that will help ensure locality plans are tailored to their communities’ health needs and represent the views of whānau Māori in the broader system,” Minister Henare said.

Māori Education will again receive a substantial boost in the Budget, with kura, kaiako and ākonga across the country benefitting.

An investment of $225 million directly into Māori Education will see more buildings being built and modernised, as well as Learning Support coordination funded for Kaupapa Māori and Māori medium education that will benefit around 25,000 ākonga in 325 schools and kura.

To support the new Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum rollout, almost $10 million will go towards work with up to 57 more iwi to help develop the local content needed so schools and kura can work together with mana whenua.

“This Government has been deeply committed to addressing the massive inequities that have been allowed to develop in Māori education for too long,” Associate Minister for Education (Māori) Kelvin Davis said.

“Over the years we have invested more than $1 billion to properly fund this space, while also developing and nurturing te reo.

“The work which we are building on today has included our significant lifts in funding for Kōhanga Reo, including a big boost to kaiako pay, and our previous support for building and expanding Kaupapa Māori and Māori medium education, which has construction underway around the country,” he said.

Funding has been made available for Te Ao Mārama, which is currently operating in Hamilton and Gisborne and soon in Kaitāia.

“Te Ao Mārama is an all of justice sector approach, working alongside communities, iwi and the legal professionals to ensure the court process is getting the best outcomes for the broader community. Based on tikanga Māori, Chief District Court Judge Heemi Taumaunu has been leading a new approach to justice which the Government has continued to support, with $11.7 million provided for the 2023/24 year,” Minister of Justice, Kiri Allan said.

Meanwhile, an $8 million boost to New Zealand Māori Tourism will provide more support for the sector to put Māori culture at the heart of our visitor experience, said Associate Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta. 

“This investment will help the industry continue to recover from COVID-19 disruptions, withstand cost-of-living pressures and also meet increasing demand as international travel resumes.”

“The investment will enable the New Zealand Māori Tourism system to provide business support to the sector relating to marketing advice and expertise, and support for compliance,” said Ms Mahuta.

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