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Protesters march down Queen Street in Auckland on budget day  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Protesters march down Queen Street in Auckland on budget day (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

ĀteaMay 31, 2024

What’s funded and what’s cut for Māori in Budget 2024

Protesters march down Queen Street in Auckland on budget day  (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)
Protesters march down Queen Street in Auckland on budget day (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Ātea editor Liam Rātana breaks down the budget allocations for Māori initiatives.

The budget has delivered a mixed bag for Maōri, who are not mentioned once in the three priority areas, accounting for 50% of the budget.

“Today’s budget is pathetic, underwhelming and lazy,” said Greens co-leader Marama Davidson in a release. 

A working couple with no children and no superannuation, earning the median Māori income of $50,238 for the year ended June 2023, will receive $70.13 per fortnight, totaling $1,823.50 per year in tax cuts. In contrast, a couple earning the median non-Māori income of $60,790 for the same period, under identical conditions, will receive $101.50 per fortnight. This is approximately 1.4 times the tax cuts of the median working Māori couple.

Protesters outside the railway station in Wellington on budget day (Photo: Alice Soper)

Maybe good?

Early childhood education providers will receive $191m for staff, teaching materials, property maintenance and food costs in the light of rising costs. A portion of this will go towards a new initiative assisting kōhanga reo with property maintenance and upgrade cost pressures. With $3m increase a year, this will increase the yearly funding of kōhanga by 57% to $8.3m.

Parents and caregivers of children in early childhood education will be eligible for a partial reimbursement of their fees, up to a maximum fortnightly payment of $150. Reimbursements will be made quarterly, as a lump sum. However, the opposition was critical of the administrative burden this would place on kōhanga reo and how the changes would impact whānau Māori.

“I’m wondering what that [administration work] costs our ECE providers, particularly kōhanga reo who are already struggling for money and if those costs will be passed on to our families who wish to put their tamariki in to ECE,” Peeni Henare said in the house this morning.

National kapa haka festival Te Matatini has received $48m over three years, assisting with the continued development of its regional development model. Finance minister Nicola Willis said the boost would help all New Zealanders join in the ongoing revitalisation of te reo Māori and Māori culture. Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi highlighted that the amount was $1m, or approximately 5% less than what Labour gave Te Matatini in Budget 2023 appropriations. “You’re proud of that? It’s a decrease,” Waititi said during the budget debate in parliament.

Whānau Ora will receive $600,000 more to spend on non-government commissioning agencies, a 0.33% increase from $181.7m to $182.3m for the coming fiscal year. However, $1m will be taken out of the organisation’s departmental expenses for the same period.

Te Māngai Pāho will receive $66m for the promotion of te reo Māori and Māori culture in 2024/25, the same allocation it received in Budget 2023.

“We are very grateful that in these constrained economic times the government has been able to maintain the current level of funding for Te Māngai Pāho. This is particularly important not only for te reo Māori but also the wider media sector with both TVNZ and Discovery NZ recently announcing major cuts in local content production,” said Larry Parr, Kaihautū o Te Māngai Pāho in a release.

The $1.2bn Regional Infrastructure Fund is expected to benefit iwi throughout the regions. Over the next three years, the fund will invest in new and existing infrastructure across regional Aotearoa, focusing on economic and climate resilience. While stopbanks and seawalls have been a focus of commentary on the fund so far, infrastructure ancillary to focus industries such as aquaculture and mining are expected to also be a priority.

Kōhanga Reo, or ‘language nests’, are early childhood education delivered in te reo Māori.

Maybe bad?

Approximately $40m of funding for new supply and capability of Māori housing has been cut, returning unallocated funding. Funding for rangatahi transitional housing has seen $20m of its unallocated funding returned to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. There was a commitment in the budget to build 1,500 new homes through the community housing sector.

Funding available for Matariki events will decrease by 45% to $3m per annum. This will likely mean fewer public events around the country and lower visibility of kaupapa honouring the occasion.

The Secretariat for Te Pae Roa, the independent Ministerial Advisory Group, has been disestablished creating savings of $4m per annum.

Te Ringa Hāpai Whenua Fund has been cut, ceasing the programme which provided on-going support to whenua Māori landowners. The government says support will instead be provided through other mechanisms such as the Whenua Māori Fund administered by Te Puni Kōkiri.

The Hapori Māori Data Capability programme is being significantly scaled back.

Mātauranga-a-iwi qualification focussed Te Kawa Matakura has been effectively disestablished. The qualification was for people who wished to develop in-depth knowledge of mātauranga ā-iwi within a general Māori worldview but in a specialist hapū and iwi context. It received initial funding of $2.8m and first ran in Te Tai Tokerau in 2020 but has since had low participation rates.

Grant funding for the Aotearoa Reorua (Bilingual Towns and Cities) Programme has been reduced by more than half. Annual funding will be reduced by 64%, or $700,000, leaving approximately $400,000 of funding per year for councils, businesses, groups and individuals interested in adopting bilingual or te reo Māori signage in their spaces.

The Climate Resilience for Māori initiative has had its funding completely cut. Funding for Mātauranga Māori-based approaches to reducing agricultural emissions has been scrapped. All uncommitted funding from the initiative will be returned and will contribute $37 million in savings for the Ministry of Primary Industries over four years.

This is Public Interest Journalism funded by NZ On Air.

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