In today’s budget announcement the government says it wants to bring back manaakitanga by building a strong foundation for Māori, focusing on areas including health, housing and better education for rangatahi.
In this year's budget, a total of $53.7mil has been allocated for Māori-specific initiatives compared to $122mil in 2017 under the National-led Government.
After being asked by Te Kāea reporters about the sudden change in funding, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said he questioned the Māori Party’s gains in the last year’s budget saying not all that was announced “came to fruition”.
He then alluded to the gains for Māori in a wider context within this year’s budget.
Meanwhile, Minister for Crown/Māori Relations, Kelvin Davis says, “Nine years of neglect by the previous National government across housing, education and healthcare have hurt our people.”
“Budget 2018 continues our focus on whānau, tamariki and rangatahi by rebuilding health, housing and education services, and upholding our commitment to te reo Māori,” he says.
Overall, initiatives benefiting Māori from Budget 2018 can be highlighted in the following categories:
MĀORI DEVELOPMENT $37 MIL
Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta says funding in Budget 2018 will enable papakāinga housing development, improve administration of whenua Māori, expand training opportunities for rangatahi and promote Māori Wardens.
It includes an additional $37mil over four years.
Papakainga - $15mil
This will provide practical assistance and resources to whānau and Māori housing providers to support papakāinga development and housing repairs through the Māori Housing Network.
Mahuta told Rereātea reporters that this model will “create more opportunities for whānau rather than an emphasis on just building homes.”
It will focus on developing social enterprises in rural communities and help create a lifestyle that will bring people together. It will also focus on repairing 1950s houses in need of renovations and maintenance.
Whenua reforms - $7mil
This will be spent over 2018 and 2019 for whenua Māori reforms to improve the administration of Māori freehold land, assist with the development of whenua Māori generally and improve governance capacity.
Training and rangatahi - $15mil
A total of $15mil of operating funding over four years has been allocated to enhance education and employment outcomes for rangatahi, especially young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs).
Jackson says New Zealand has around 84,000 NEETS in New Zealand “and it is important to invest in them now to give them the best chance to succeed.”
The Government also announced earlier this year funding for He Poutama Rangatahi, an initiative which connects NEETS to skills training and employment pathways, in four regions; Tairāwhiti, Te Tai Tokerau, Eastern Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay.
A total of $1mil included in this will go towards Māori Wardens initiatives.
FAMILIES PACKAGE $250MIL
The government announced it will invest a total of $5.5bil over four years into the Families Package.
It is estimated $250mil from the Families Package change could benefit Māori over the next four years, according to Associate Minister for Crown/Māori Relations Meka Whaitiri.
This will go towards an increase in the winter energy payment and accommodation supplement benefit as well as new funding for transitional housing and a Housing First programme.
“Much of the new money for transitional housing and the Housing First programme will improve the quality of life for our tamariki and whānau,” says Whaitiri.
Over four years the $250mil from the Families Package will extend to a total of $1.2bil and benefit 181,000 Māori children, Davis and Mahuta told Rereātea.
CLOTHING ALLOWANCE $104MIL
Budget 2018 provides $104.9mil operating funds over four years for Clothing Allowances for children supported by the Orphans Allowance and Unsupported Child’s Benefit.
Minister for Whānau Ora, Peeni Henare says about half of these carers are Māori kaumātua and kuia.
“Helping our whānau, clothing our tamariki, and ensuring that our kaumatua and kuia can afford to heat their homes is a focus of Budget 2018,” he says.
Minister for Children Hon Tracey Martin says grandparents will be entitled to a clothing allowance of up to $1,500 per year for children they are looking after. The allowance will come into effect in July 1.
EDUCATION AND TE REO MĀORI $14.5MIL
Davis says Budget 2018 offers $14.5mil in operating funding over four years to help better integrate te reo Māori into schools and provide pathways so tamariki and rangatahi can excel in both te reo and tikanga.
Lifting Achievement for Māori Students $1mil
New operating funding in 2018 and 2019 of $1mil will investigate how government can better support Māori school students to achieve as Māori in English-medium settings.
Te Kawa Matakura
A total of $690,000 in new operating funding in 2017/018, plus $2.1mil operating funding in 2018/19 and 2019/20, will develop a programme and qualification for secondary students who exhibit excellence in te ao Māori.
Davis says Te Kawa Matakura is part of the government's plan to enable Māori achievement by investing in students who display excellence in mātauranga Māori.
“Te Kawa Matakura will develop a qualification for students to formally recognise their excellence. It is another step forward in the education system’s recognition of the value of Māori knowledge.”
Davis told Rereātea that in the first year of establishment, the kura will recuit 10 female an 10 males from fifth form (Year 10) at secondary school and up.
He said is it expected to start in 2020, facilitated through tertiary educators including wānanga and polytechnics.
Students will likely be iwi-selected or self-selected and there will be a set requirement for youth to be accepted into the kura.
Te Ahu o te reo Māori
A total of $1.1mil of new operating funding in 2017/18, plus $11.4mil operating funding over the following three years will fund a package of initiatives to lift capability across the system for delivering quality te reo Māori education.
“Te Ahu o te reo Māori will support teachers to deliver te reo in the classroom. It will support all teachers – those already teaching te reo, and those who have the potential but may not yet have the confidence. This is the start of our plan to better integrate te reo into early learning, primary and intermediate schools," says Davis.
The 2018 Budget provides Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children, $269.9mil over the next four years to expand its services.
A total of $2.2mil of these funds will go towards a one year trial to improve the Family Group Conference process for tamariki Māori.
PRE-BUDGET ANNOUNCEMENTS BENEFITING MĀORI
A total of $100mil has already been announced to tackle homelessness in Aotearoa with $37mil going towards providing 1500 shorter-term houses and $63 to ramp up the Housing First Programme around the country.
Social services dealing most directly with the harm caused by family violence will receive an additional $76.157mil over four years.
The funding will go towards supporting the delivery of Ministry of Social Development-funded family violence services for victims, perpetrators, and their families.
Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says the nearly 30% increase in funding is critical to the government's efforts to turn around New Zealand's tragic family violence record.
OTHER MAJOR HIGHLIGHTS
- Health receives a huge boost with $3.2bil more in operating funding over the next four years and $850mil new capital – including $750mil to tackle some of hospitals' most urgent building problems, the biggest capital injection in health in at least the last decade
- Free doctors' visits for everyone under the age of 14
- Elective surgery, maternity services, air ambulances and the National Bowel Screening Programme are among the health services receiving extra funding
- New capital funding will build schools and hundreds of new classrooms. Operating funding for education over the next four years increases by $1.6bil to address rising demand, fund 1,500 more teachers and raise teacher-aide funding.
- Early childhood education gets a $590.2mil operating boost over four years, benefiting over 200,000 children. A total of $284mil goes to Learning Support to allow every child with special education needs and learning difficulties to better participate in school life.
- Housing is boosted by more than $634mil in operating funds. Labour will increase public housing by over 6,000 homes over the next four years, provide more transitional housing and help for the homeless and offer grants for insulation and heating.