Ministers continue to beat the drum for the goodies dispensed in the Budget, a week after Finance Minister Grant Robertson delivered his Budget speech and the Government published a raft of documents and press statements to tell the nation who got how much.
Some of the ministerial post-Budget announcements relate to services that are being provided for all who need them. Or rather, all who need them until the money runs out, presumably.
In addition to the $15.5 million spent each year to help people battling with eating disorders, for example, $3.9 million in extra funding over four years has been secured as part of Budget 2022.
“This will help increase the capacity of eating disorder services and reinforces our continued focus and commitment to improve mental health and addictions support in Aotearoa,” Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced today.
We thought we had heard all the education announcements, but Education Minister Chris Hipkins today said Budget 2022 has taken capital investment in school property under this Government to $3.6 billion since 2018.
Another statement drew attention to the aim to help around 93,000 more people become eligible for legal aid from January 2023 by pumping over $148 million into legal aid across four years.
Some funding is earmarked to help certain people depending on their ethnicity.
The Māori media sector over the next two years will benefit from a $40 million appropriation to support the industry “while it transitions to a new public media environment”, Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson announced today.
* The development of a sector-wide workforce strategy and growing current workforce development initiatives – $8m
* Maintaining and growing iwi media collaboration in news and current affairs -$12m
* The creation of innovative content that reflects Māori language, culture, stories, and perspectives – $20m
Jackson popped up again to announce a $25 million appropriation in the Cadetship programmes which “will ensure Māori thrive in the labour market”. The programme will be delivered by Te Puni Kōkiri
Jackson also announced (along with Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash) a further $26 million investment over the next two years in “a Progressive Procurement initiative” to diversify government spending on goods and services and increase Māori business engagement with government procurement.
In this case, it looks like “progressive” means “discriminatory”.
The Government spends about $51 billion on procurement annually.
The Progressive Procurement Policy was launched in 2020 “to ensure broader economic and social outcomes for New Zealand” and includes a 5% target for agencies annual procurement spend to be with Māori businesses.
Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are leading the Progressive Procurement kaupapa. You can read more about it here: tpk.govt.nz/progressiveprocurement
Associate Education Minister (Māori) Kelvin Davis has announced “51 education resources that will help bring Mātauranga Māori to life”.
The curriculum resources include activity cards, books (including eBooks), journals, apps, waiata, rotarota, videos, posters, teaching and learning programmes, and Maramataka. No dollar signs or other signs of the cost are provided. Nor has Davis provided English-language translations for some bits of his announcement that he has camouflaged with te reo.
Pacific people are enjoined with Maori to benefit from some programmes.
More than $36 million across four years will be appropriated to shift the starting age for bowel screening from 60 years old to 50 years old for Māori and Pacific people. This will result in 60,000 more people being screened each year.
And Budget 2022 will deliver 1900 new health workers and will support 2700 more students into training programmes through a $76 million investment to continue to grow the health workforce for Māori and Pacific communities.
Another announcement today involves government spending but with money provided by criminals.
The Government is providing further support to help Police protect small businesses affected by a spike in ram raids, Minister of Police Poto Williams says.
$6 million from the Proceeds of Crime Fund will be invested in a crime prevention programme to be managed by Police which will include solutions such as installing bollards or other protection structures.
“While there has been a significant reduction in youth offending over the past decade, there has also been a recent spike in ram raids and related offending which we urgently need to address for these business owners.
This funding is intended to enable Police to work closely with vulnerable small retailers to identify effective and practical solutions based on the particular features of each location.
Police will also look at the range of crime and security risks each small retailer may face, and other options such as fog cannons, security alarms, or screens may be considered, Poto Williams said.
Hmm. The ram raiders will soon find which shops have been buttressed against their best efforts and rob other shops instead.
Another announcement worth highlighting is the creation of a new trough for businesses.
Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods – announcing the launch of two new grants aimed at fuelling firms that want to innovate – said a $250 million investment over the next four years is a commitment to turning great ideas into building a higher-value, more sustainable economy.
“I want to turbo-charge all the tremendous potential I see in our business ecosystem, by introducing grants to help out with the high costs and steep learning curves associated with R&D, and to provide an on-ramp to our existing R&D Tax Incentive.
“I also want to provide extra encouragement to businesses that are performing innovation that is new to the world. Now with a combination of the R&D Tax Incentive, and the new grants programmes, we will have a system of support that is much more representative of the full gamut of business activity we want to stimulate.
Ārohia the Innovation Trailblazer Grant will help with the costs of activities that don’t fall within the definition of R&D and will be targeted at businesses that are pursuing opportunities that will generate significant spill over benefits to the wider economy.
The New to R&D Grant will support businesses that do not have established R&D capabilities and provide an on-ramp onto the R&D Tax Incentive (RDTI).
Callaghan Innovation will administer the grants, which will be available from mid-September 2022.