Māori Party outlines big wins from Budget 2015

updated By Maiki Sherman

The Māori Party has outlined the benefits for Māori in this year's Budget announced by Minister of Finance, Bill English.  

Minister for Māori Development, Te Ururoa Flavell says, "The gains the Māori Party made in Budget 2015 will continue to support whānau to make a real difference in their own lives and in the lives of others."

In a statement released following the Budget announcement, the Māori Party highlighted that $790 million from Budget 2015, will be directed towards whānau with children most in need.

Under the new fund, families with children on benefits will get an extra $25 a week, while working families with children on low incomes, will get between $12.50 and $24.50 per week.

It is estimated that 310,000 families and 570,000 children will benefit from the increases.

Co-party leader Marama Fox estimated the extra money would reach 100,000 Māori families including 89,000 children.

In addition to the $790 million hardship relief, the Māori Party has secured an additional $37.4 million this year for other whānau initiatives.

Te Kāea political reporter Maiki Sherman spoke with Te Ururoa Flavell after the announcement at Parliament.  

When asked, Māori Development has received an extra $100mil a year even while the Government's Budget is in the red, was that difficult to achieve?  Flavell replied, "It was fairly simple, as we're sitting at the table we're able to remind the Government to address the concerns of Māori.  That's our main focus, the well-being of Māori families. 

That's the benefit of being in a partnership, we're able to discuss, encourage and fight for that.  The result being the new money which was announced today."

Flavell was asked, $50mil to Whānau Ora, is that a sign the Government still backs the initiative strongly?  To which he replied, "Indeed, in recent weeks we've heard a lot of criticism aimed at Whānau Ora, but the Māori Party still backs Whānau Ora and believes it should be developed with more funding.

This fund will go towards developing Whānau Ora navigators so they're able to return to our Māori families and Māori communities and assist them.  It's had good results and the Government recognises that."

Flavell was also asked, as the Government is looking at vulnerable Māori families, what part does the Māori Party have in that process?

His response was, "The Māori Party has a huge part in those dealings.  Over the past 40-50 years, no government, Labour or National, has increased funding to that area.

Due to our partnership with National, we've achieved that goal.  That started with Tariana, the Māori Party's push to the Minister to investigate family poverty.

With my fellow MP Marama Fox we achieved some gains last year, but this year they've made changes.  Who would've thought the National Party would do that?  It's due to the push from the Māori Party, and were pleased they moved on it."