TAHUA 2018: Māori development claims $37mil

By Talisa Kupenga

Māori development will receive $37mil of new funding.  Labour has promised to deliver on Māori health and Māori housing. The government won all the Māori seats- so, did Māori get a good return for their vote?

Some critics would say the amount is small compared to the $122mil the Māori Party claimed last year but Finance Minister Grant Robertson has hit back saying while that figure was a big number most of that funding didn't eventuate.

The 2018 budget targets Health, housing and education.

Robertson says, "What this budget and the 100-day plan does deliver is $1.5billion in benefits for Māori Families".

Chief Economist Ganesh Nana says, “Pluses, the goal is there.  Minuses, I don't think that it creates that urgency that is required".

Māori development banked $15mil for Papakainga; $15mil to get rangatahi from learning to earning- targeting those not employed in education or training and $7mil for Māori land development.

Nana says, "In general I think you have to look beyond that $37mil and the big-ticket items in terms of additional investment in health and education of which Māori should get a significant slice".

Robertson says, “My Māori Caucus colleagues have emphasiSed to me that when they campaigned last year, what Māori voters were saying to them was, 'We want more investment in whānau, we want more investment in the incomes of the people in our households, of our children.  That's what we're delivering in the families package".

If one also counts $14.8mil for Māori Education and $2.2mil to improve Māori Family group conferences, the total could take the total Māori allocation to $54mil.

However, Te Puni Kōkiri received a $21.5mil cut.

"It's reprioritised, so it has been allocated to be spent somewhere.  I think in net terms for Māori Development it's still positive in terms of an addition.

"I think it's important Māori are at the table...to make sure that they are in the right position to take over the challenges over the next few years".

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta says some of the Te Puni Kōkiri funding was taken from one year programmes and re-purposed into other projects that would deliver more significant impacts.