Matthew Roskruge: Let's keep the Māori funding ball rolling

By Stefan Dimitrof

Dr Matt Roskruge, Massey University associate economics and finance professor and co-director of Te Au Rangahau says he hasn’t noticed any government signals of a strong relief package to help household day-to-day costs.

He was talking to teaomā to discuss today’s Budget 2022.

“I would be really happy to be surprised and see something in there but I think that we will see incremental, maybe keeping up with inflation – three to five or six percent increase in core benefits.

“I don’t think that they will leave whanau doing it tough behind.”

Roskruge thinks that, even if these predictions come to pass, he thinks programmes such as Working for Families and others like it will be missing out on this funding round.

“There will probably be more tactical interventions like the petrol price discount will stay on for a bit longer, maybe dental subsidies coming in for low-income whanau. I’m not expecting a huge win.”

A big part of this budget is focused on funding new health reforms and Roskruge says two big spends to set up these new health entities. should be expected. ”There is a lot of promise for Māori.”

Roskruge says the government is big on infrastructure but “we have yet to see the plans hit the ground in the same way, though the Infrastructure Commission is doing well and starting to put out its strategies”.

But he's not sure if it's the next budget or the budget after that where New Zealand will see resources allocated to support those initiatives.

“There might be concerns about inflation -and things might not be quite there yet - but we do need to see an increase at least to match inflation, and a few big projects to be announced to keep morale up.”

“One of the things I really appreciated about the last budget was the government waking up to the need to fund Māori and Māori initiatives out of the budget.”

"In 2020 we were barely mentioned and in 2021 all of a sudden they were talking about where money was going for Māori and supporting Māori initiatives”.

"I want to see that strengthen and continue in this budget. We should be looking for more money for Māori initiatives like Māori media as it’s not really keeping up with inflation and it would be good to see a decent package for Māori TV and Māori media education.

“Also initiatives for broadening the Māori economy."