Flavell disputes Māori got "crumbs" of budget

By Talisa Kupenga

The Māori Party proudly took a $122 million slice of the budget pie for Māori specific initiatives, but the slice is $12-million smaller than last year and even more frugal than the year before that. But some ask if Māori are being left with the crumbs.

While it falls short of the amount allocated in the past two years Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell disputes Māori were left with the crumbs of the budget.

Māori Party Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell says, "It's the nature of budgets to rise and fall and I'm okay with that because we still secured money which will be allocated to Māori."

$94.9 million was released yesterday in addition to the pre-budget $27-million marae and Māori housing announcement. So where did the $12-million that Māori this year missed out on end up?

Flavell says "I don't know [where it went], the Minister is responsible for that but disasters and events like that in Christchurch and Kaikoura have occurred which have taken some money. What we are looking to do now is take the opportunity to extend our reach to get a piece of the other budgets."

Māori Land received most of the Māori Development funds with $32 million in the kete. This comes as Te Ture Whenua Māori bill awaits it's third reading in Parliament.

"The Māori Land service would be a new body so $32-million has been put aside to futher develop that and draw the resources necessary for the next 18-months.”

Flavell says the party has won more money for whānau to plot their own course and the $2-billion per year Family Incomes Package in the wider budget gives whānau more opportunity.