BUDGET 2019: $593m funds to support Māori and Pasifika

By Talisa Kupenga

More than half a billion dollars has been allocated over four years to support Māori and Pacific aspirations, signalled as one of five priority areas under the Wellbeing Budget 2019.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says "We saw both opportunity and also challenge for supporting Māori and when you look at the total for funding within the priority there and also other funding that was targeted you're up over the half a billion dollar mark over four years. That's an evidence-based approach."

Targeted funds to support Māori and Pacific aspirations total $593million, $485m of that targets Māori, $245.7m of which comes under Vote Māori Development, a significant increase of the $37m allocated to that vote in Budget 2018.

Finance Analyst Brook Grant "there are some great initiatives but my question to Government is whether or not this will invigorate Māori."

Nationals Finance spokeswoman Amy Adams says "Māori will look at this and see it for what it is, which is trying to buy back some of the hurt that was caused in last year's budget and I'll be really interested to see as I say whether or not it actually changes the lives for Māori in New Zealand."

Some of the big allocations include $26.4m for He Poutama Rangatahi targeting youth not in employment education or training (NEETS), $40m for papakainga, and $208million to enhance Te Reo Māori.

Grant says "in time what I want is for Māori to be leading in terms resources and business so we aren't only employees."

But Māori families that stand to benefit from the budget will be the ultimate judges on whether or not it delivers wellbeing outcomes.