National MP says Budget 2020 doesn't have good enough plans in place for Māori

By Jessica Tyson

National Party MP Joanna Hayes says while some parts of the Budget 2020 do benefit Māori, it doesn’t have substantial plans in place for some of the investments announced.

Hayes says the $136mil package offered to Whānau Ora is an example.

“There is a considerable amount of money that is out there that has not got a plan around it and the minister, Peeni Henare, has actually admitted that there isn’t a plan and that the plan is coming later on," says Hayes.

“I don’t think that’s good enough. I think there should have been a plan around how all of that money was going to be expended.”

Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare did announce the new funding for Whānau Ora will be made available for different purposes across the current and the next two financial years as the country works together to understand the full impact of COVID-19.

Unemployment for Māori

Hayes also believes the budgets don’t address new jobs for Māori, considering unemployment rates are expected to rise to double that of non-Māori.

“This Government’s budget I don’t think has addressed growing an economy to be able to develop and have those jobs available for when students come out from apprenticeships, from when people come out of training institutions," she says.

The budget has included the establishment of a $50mil Māori Trades Training fund to go towards employment and skills training programmes He Poutama Rangatahi, Mana in Mahi and Māori Cadetships, but Hayes is concerned about what jobs will be available to people once they finish their training.

“Where to from here, and where are the jobs going to come to once these students come out of their trade training apprenticeships and will there be jobs at the end of the day or will they have to hang around and wait until something happens.”

The $900mil package for Māori released in the Budget included $200mil offered to Te Kōhanga Reo, a major boost since last year Te Kōhanga Reo was offered $32mil.

“I think Kōhanga Reo has done very well and they should be very happy with what they have been given from this Budget,” says Hayes.

The $900mil package also included the establishment of a $50mil Māori Trades Training fund; $40mil to help tackle the housing challenges Māori face through the Māori and Iwi Housing Initiative MAIHI programme; and $11mil for iwi and Māori non-government organisations.