May 20, 2021

Tackling Housing and Health for Māori and Pacific Peoples

Large budget investments, but are they enough?

The Government has provided large investments into both housing and health, attempting to reduce the inequitable disadvantaged conditions faced by Māori and Pacific Peoples. 

After Aotearoa recovered so well from COVID-19, it seems as though the Government could have actually done more.

Coming into the 2021 Budget the Government guaranteed huge focus and investment in lifting Māori and Pacific Peoples in the Aotearoa economy. With Māori and Pacific Peoples suffering more through COVID, the importance of investing appropriately could not be overstated. The 2021 Budget has produced large investments into the key issues faced, with substantial investment into both housing and health. But this wasn’t all, investment into maintaining culture and wellbeing outcomes was also included.

$720 million for Māori housing.

Housing has always been a large issue for the Māori community. Māori on average have worse home ownership than non-Māori and report higher rates of living in mouldy, damp or cold homes. With housing being at the forefront of the Government’s mind, the 2021 Budget looks to make serious change to this with $380 million being used to deliver new homes, repair Māori-owned homes, and increase housing support. Alongside this, $350 million of the Housing Acceleration Fund will be allocated for ring fencing to provide additional housing.

This $380 million investment in the Māori economy should look to deliver 1,000 homes, including papakāinga housing, rentals, transitional housing, and Māori-owned homes. The Government not only aims to deliver more housing but is placing a huge focus on repairs of Māori-owned homes to increase the standard of living for Māori. There will be $30 million of this investment set aside for supporting iwi and Māori through future capability to boost housing projects and support services.

The Housing Acceleration Fund was announced earlier this year and the Government is committing $350 million of this to support infrastructure for iwi/Māori. It is expected that this will enable an additional 2,700 Māori homes.

These investments aim to address the inequality seen in housing between Māori and non-Māori. New housing, plus the ongoing repair of Māori-owned homes, looks to enable this. Not only will these large investments supply increased housing and housing conditions, they will also lead onto increasing the standard of living for Māori and health conditions.

$243 million for Māori health.

The investment in health for Māori is a total package of $242.8 million, consisting of multiple separate investments. The newly formed Māori Health Authority (MHA) has been dedicated $98.1 million for the establishment of the Authority, and Hon Minister Grant Robertson stated “there will be more”. With the Authority not completely forming until 2022, the Government placed emphasis on this investment not being the end of it going forward. There will be future additional investment into the MHA. With Māori health being a serious concern for Aotearoa, the formation of this Authority looks to directly support the Māori community and provide help for those who need it most.

Included in this health package is $126.8 million for Hauora Māori programmes run by the MHA which includes funding for increasing provider capability and a Māori health innovation fund. This injection will enable the MHA to operate at full capacity, along with support for iwi/Māori partnership boards, who are receiving $17.8 million.

$150 million for Māori education.

The Māori population is very young. Investment in the future of Māori through education and skills development is crucial going forward. The 2021 Budget has committed over $150 million to Māori education in the form of funding, preservation of Te Reo Māori, funding for wānanga, and property funding to build and expand schools.

Māori education services are receiving serious support with $20 million being provided for Māori boarding skills and $32.3 million for funding to wānanga. Wānanga is a key educational provider for Māori and this investment aims to reduce the inequitable funding typically received by Wānanga.

Investment of $77 million is provided for property funding to build and expand schools, It is aimed at providers of Māori medium education and the delivery of Māori education, along with funding into other Māori educational services like Te Reo Mataini, Pāngarau, and Marautanga.

The preservation of the Māori language has been done through a $14.8 million investment in the implementation of the Māori language strategy. This is in line with the Government’s plan to have one million people speaking Te Reo Māori by 2040.

$108 million for Pacific Peoples wellbeing.

The Government has provided $108 million as they aim to really increase wellbeing outcomes for Pacific Peoples. The package is a combination of employment support, business support, and support of the Pacific culture and language. The present and future wellbeing of Pacific Peoples has been invested in through a $6.6 million initiative to establish a wellbeing strategy going forward.

A $30.3 million investment into ensuring equal and good opportunities for employment, training, and education. It is estimated this investment will allow approximately 7,500 Pacific Peoples those opportunities. Continued support from the CRRF for Pacific businesses feeling the impact of COVID will be delivered through $16.2 million worth of funding.

Pacific culture and education is being supported through bilingual and immersion education in the education system with an investment of $20.8 million, along with more investment in new Pacific language subjects with NCEA standards. With even more investment in the Pacific education sector being delivered through a $5 million operating fund to address social inclusion in education.

Most people acknowledge how important it was to invest in the Māori and Pacific economy after the impacts of COVID hit them harder than anyone else. The Government has really aimed to minimise the main issues that Māori and Pacific Peoples face. The need for better quality housing, equal opportunities, and better access to health services seems to be the highest priority with regards to the wellbeing outcome, lifting Māori and Pacific Peoples. The formation of the MHA looks to really tune in, and help solve the health issues being faced. But, in terms of housing, is it really just enough to build some houses and repair some current ones?