Budget 2021: Māori to receive over $1 billion covering housing, health, reo initiatives

Michael Neilson, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 May 2021, 2:54PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Budget 2021: Māori to receive over $1 billion covering housing, health, reo initiatives

Michael Neilson, NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 May 2021, 2:54PM

Key points:

  • $380 million delivering about 1000 new homes for Māori including papakāinga housing, repairs to about 700 Māori-owned homes and expanding support services.
    • $242.8m for Māori health initiatives, including setting up the new Māori Health Authority.
    • $150m in Māori Education to support Māori boarding schools and lift kōhanga reo teachers' pay.
    • $42m to build a sustainable Māori media sector and invest in programme content.
    • $15m for Māori tourism.
    • $14.8m for the implementation of the Māori language strategy.

The Government has announced a $1.1 billion package for Māori, including nearly a quarter of a billion dollars for health initiatives such as setting up the new Māori Health Authority.

The package also places a strong emphasis on improving housing outcomes, with $380m set aside to deliver 1000 papakāinga homes among other measures.

Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said Budget 2021 struck "the right balance", between economic recovery and social investment, while ensuring a "by Māori, for Māori" approach in areas like justice reform, health and education.

"We are still recovering from the impacts of Covid-19, and we have still more to do.
"Budget 2021 shows we are tackling the hard problems, while putting the wellbeing of whānau at the centre of our solutions."

Associate Māori Housing and Māori Health Minister Peeni Henare said improving Māori health and ensuring Māori had access to warm dry homes, were the core reasons behind the $242.8m health investment and $380m Māori Housing package.

The funding for Māori health includes $98.1m for establishing the Māori Health Authority, $17.8m to support of iwi/Māori partnership boards and $126.8m for Hauora Māori programmes run by the Māori Health Authority including funding for increasing provider capability and a Māori health innovation fund.

The housing package is expected to deliver 1000 new houses that will be a range of papakāinga housing, affordable rentals, transitional housing, and owner-occupied housing.

Funding will also cover repairs for 700 Māori-owned houses improving the quality of homes for whānau in most need, led by Te Puni Kōkiri.

It is designed to help address low Māori home-ownership rates, at 31 per cent compared to the national average of 52 per cent.

A $30m boost will go towards building future capability for iwi and Māori groups to accelerate housing projects and a range of support services.

Henare said $350m had also been secured in the Housing Acceleration Fund, targeted to investment in infrastructure to support Māori and iwi providers build homes for whānau Māori.

"Health and Housing has always been our top priority and these funds will help get better health outcomes for our people and enable us to partner with Māori from across the regions to build a suite of housing solutions for Māori on the ground," Henare said.

Housing Minister Megan Woods said the ringfencing of the Housing Acceleration Fund would ensure opportunities to build housing for Māori could get under way faster.

The investment is expected to enable at least 2700 houses. This is based on an average cost of $100,000 to $130,000 per site.

Jackson said Budget 2021 would support three separate kaupapa in Māori Tourism – the expansion of the business support services already offered by New Zealand Māori Tourism, work to position the Māori Tourism Industry for the future, as well as providing funding for anchor projects like the East Coast cycle track.

"Now we are working towards reconnecting with the world, we are helping to kick start our Māori tourism sector by investing $15m, as a charge against the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund, in their restart to enable them to play a strong role in our economic recovery," Jackson said.

Minister for Children Kelvin Davis said Budget 2021 had set aside $23.4m for the wellbeing of tamariki and whānau in the greatest need.

Oranga Tamariki would be working with partners in 2021 to develop a strategy for the children's system that responds to the findings of the recent reviews, as well as upcoming reports from the Waitangi Tribunal and the Ministerial Advisory Board.

Budget 2021 funding would help ensure the strategy took a "by Māori, for Māori" approach to improve the support that Māori could deliver to tamariki and whānau in need, enabled by a system that's trusted to step in only when needed, Davis said.

In the justice sector, Budget 2021 included more than $10m in a new co-designed pathway ensuring wāhine were provided a Māori pathway out of prison, Davis said.

"Across the system we are investing in Māori solutions, $70m is to be invested in Te Pae Oranga iwi community panels – a tikanga Māori and whānau ora based alternative to court for low-level offending.

"We are investing $12m to prevent family violence and sexual violence by expanding whānau-centred facilitation by kaupapa Māori providers, $13.7m in Whakaorangia te mana tangata – which aims to uplift the mana of offenders, victims and their whānau," Davis said.

Over $150m will be invested in Māori education including a $20m package to support Māori boarding schools, $32.3m to address the inequitable funding of wānanga, and funding improve pay in kōhanga reo and $77m to build and expand schools delivering Māori medium education.

Associate Minister of Statistics Meka Whaitiri said Covid-19 had highlighted the need for greater data collection, and so $14.1m had been set aside for data collection and analysis capability by assisting iwi to collect responses to the 2023 Census in two geographic areas.

Budget 2021 would also include $14.8m to support the Māori language strategy, helping achieve the goal of having one million New Zealanders able to speak basic te reo Māori by 2040.

There would also be $42m invested into Māori broadcasting to build a sustainable Māori media sector and invest in programme content.

Jackson paid tribute to their fellow Māori Minister Kiri Allan, on medical leave, who had secured $45.7m operating and $850,000 capital funding for emergency management.

"An immediate priority will be growing the role iwi Māori play," Jackson said.

Asked why there was no increase announced for Whānau Ora, Henare said funding announced in last year's Budget was to be spent over two years. Labour had doubled funding to the organisation over its terms in government, he said.

Pacific peoples will benefit from a $108m package that will continue to support Pacific communities' wellbeing through the rebuild and recovery from Covid-19, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said.

The package includes a $30.3m boost to assist the Tupu Aotearoa programme to support about 7500 Pacific peoples into employment, training, and education.

Another $6.6m would support the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy – a cross-government initiative that will develop ways to measure Pacific wellbeing across government work programmes and initiatives.

There was also $20.8m set aside to support Pacific bilingual and immersion education in the schooling.