Māori uni students' mixed feelings about govt spending

By Jessica Tyson

Māori university students have mixed feelings about where the government has decided to spend some of its funding, following the significant difference in funding allocated to overseas aid and homelessness in Aotearoa.

In this year’s budget, more than $700mil will to go towards overseas aid for the Pacific region as a response to climate change and other emergencies, whereas a smaller amount of $100mil will go towards homelessness in New Zealand.

Māori liaison officer Kelly-Aroha Huata of Ngāti Kahungunu, says more funding should be allocated to people living in Aotearoa instead of going towards Pacific aid.

“Now that I know that a large portion of our money, our putea, is going offshore, my whakaaro of my tax is a little bit grey now because, for me, all the money that I get taxed, I want it to go to Māori," she told Rereātea.

“We’ve got a lot of issues in our own backyards that we should sort out before helping out other people”.

Meanwhile, Rawhiti Erstich-Coles says funding $700mil in overseas aid is important.

“It’s building foreign relations with our Pasifika and we do have a lot of Pasifika in New Zealand.  They do account for a lot of our population, especially in Auckland and I feel like that is only building relationships with those Pacific communities," he says.

“In regards to the homelessness, I feel like that’s just the start and we can build onto that”.

Renata White of Ngāti Tama and Tainui says the funding for $700mil “could be a greater amount of people that they’re actually supporting.” 

“Looking at the big numbers, everyone would get shocked, but really analysing it and seeing how many people are affected, how quickly will they actually receive those resources, what shapes do the funds look like - those questions need to be asked”.