Information leaked to Te Kaea shows a $3 million dollar underspend in the Māori Langauge Commission's budget. The funding is allocated to increase te reo Māori in the communities.
The Māori Language Commission's mission is to grow te reo Māori, but funding intended for communities is staying in-house.
Labour MP Peeni Henare says, “To hear that a lot of this funding isn't going out into the communities is a major concern. It begs the question, where is the money going?”
Te Kāea's investigations show that the Commission received almost $4 million dollars in funding for community-based language initiatives. However, they have only spent around $2.2 million dollars, underspending by $1.7 million dollars.
Te Kāea also found out that the under-spend increased this year to nearly $3 million dollars.
The Māori Language Commission's Chief Executive Ngahiwi Apanui says that it isn't all their fault.
He says while there is a significant underspend, the money won't need to be returned.
“Te Taura Whiri is different, we are able to roll over our funds into the next year,” says Apanui.
But Apanui does acknowledge the fact that this situation isn't ideal.
“The minister has been on us to spend it. He believes there is no use in keeping it,” says Apanui.
“That is a big problem,” says Henare, “I have spoken to people who actually applied for that funding and didn't get it.”
Pita Paraone of New Zealand First is a former CEO of commission. He is also concerned.
“If Taura Whiri isn't spending that money the government will probably be thinking it's a waste of time funding them.”
The Commission claims that they already have plans to re-allocate the funds.