Maori Authority tells the Government to invest, be bold in budget 2021 – list of priorities released
The Chair of the National Maori Authority, Matthew Tukaki, has said the Government needs to be bold and brave when it comes to budget 2021 announced tomorrow. Tukaki has urged the Government to take the opportunity and address inequities while also building on the recovery post COVID19.
“COVID19 is affording us an opportunity to really look at what more we can do right now to address some of the inequities in Te Ao Maori and that is why this budget is so fundamentally important. Here at the National Maori Authority, we are looking for the following:
Housing: We want to see an increase in investment in housing and that also means a doubling of funding for specific Maori housing initiatives – including papakainga housing development. That includes social housing and addressing the affordability factor for those trying to get into their first homes. We also want to see more support in the rental sector because with rising house prices comes the risk of rising rents. The Accommodation Supplement for those who need it must be on par with those increases. We want to see whanau out of motels and into safe and secure accommodation over the remainder of this term of Government – the housing crisis must come to an end.
Health: We want to see an increased focus on Maori health determinants, prevention work and also greater investment in Hauora. Importantly we want to see investment in the standing up of the Maori Health Authority so they can get down to work. We also want to see investment leaving the Ministry of Health in terms of support for mental health and suicide prevention as well as increasing the budget for PHARMAC when it comes to life saving and life extending medications. Health must be a priority in this budget.
Employment: We want to see more funding made available for trade training and employment programs actively targeting not just our young people but also those who are embarking on a second career as they age – in other words markers that will empower and enable what we call the “50 ups” – those over the age of fifty to get back and be active in the workforce. We also want ensure that those employment pathways are targeting areas of high demand and that includes mental health, nursing, teaching and the digital trades.
Poverty: We want to see more investment in bringing down child poverty in Aotearoa, but also whanau poverty. The harsh reality is that we have children going to school hungry, coming home hungry. We have whanau unable to keep up with the rising cost of living and we have grandparents in poverty with no retirement savings, at the behest of the rental market and unable to even have a reasonable standard of living. We are urging the Government in this budget to go further to address poverty – but we also want the Government to take a firm hand to the public service and their inability to work together to ensure whanau when they most need support understand how to navigate the system. The public service needs to be reform to respond to need not create barriers to avoid those in need.
“There are of course more Kaupapa that need to be laid down such as greater investment in water infrastructure and also the encroaching challenge of climate change. Over the short to medium term we want to see the standing up of a specific climate adaptation fund to enable Maori communities and infrastructure to sustain that change. We also want to see more investment into Kohanga and Kura as well as the overall education system.” Tukaki said
“We remain hopeful that this Government with their majority will act to address the inequities Maori face – but we also need the Government and all politicians to push back against race baiting and racism in Aotearoa.” Tukaki said