Monday, May 29, 2023

Point of Order: What do Māori get from the Budget?

Not as much as last year, sorry, but $825m more than the rest of us

The question posed in a Te Karere TVNZ headline – Budget 2023: How much was given to Māori? – was partly answered on the same day by a OneNews headline – Budget delivers hundreds of millions for Māori.

The New Zealand Herald put a more precise figure on it: Budget 2023 breakdown: Māori initiatives get $825m, Te Matatini kapa haka festival receives massive boost.

Nevertheless, Newshub reported the Māori Party was miffed that Māori had been short-changed: ‘Should have done better’: Te Pāti Māori Co-leader reacts to Budget 2023.

RNZ (without a question mark) headlined a report: Budget 2023: What’s in it for Māori.

The article was providing an answer rather than asking a question.

An obvious part of the answer is that Māori will share the same benefits that are appropriated for public services for everyone.

But on top of that – as the NZ Herald headline above attests – there’s $825 million of Māori-targeted spending.

This is not as much as was appropriated last year, as Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson acknowledged:

RNZ reported:

The Minister for Māori Development has defended the drop in funding for Māori-specific initiatives in this year’s Budget, saying these are “very, very tough times”.

Willie Jackson Labour’s Māori caucus were “all satisfied” with the $825 million ‘Māori Budget’, part of Finance Minister Grant Robertson’s “no-frills” Budget, revealed on Thursday.

Last year, Māori initiatives received a boost of more than $1 billion.

Jackson proceeded to acknowledge – 
  • That Māori are entitled to everything in the Budget that is being offered to New Zealanders generally; and
  • Not all Māori benefit from the funding that has been earmarked for “Māori ”,
“You must remember this is targeted funding – our people benefit from the overall Budget,” Jackson said.

“We’ve got the by Māori, for Māori [Budget], but let’s not forget most Māori are not attached to a lot of our Māori organisations. There’s going to be huge benefits right across the spectrum.”

While the Māori Party welcomed parts of the Budget – particularly the boost for Te Matatini, which co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said was “the exact amount” they wanted – she and her colleague Rawiri Waititi were left disappointed.

“It has clearly provided us evidence the focus is more on the middle to rich voter, and it hasn’t addressed the real big elephant in the room – that we have long-term pain from poverty, entrenched poverty in Aotearoa,” Ngarewa-Packer said.

Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi, in his Budget speech in Parliament, was more trenchant in his criticism that $825 million of targeted funding was insufficient.

Now, usually we will get up in this speech and do the courteous thing by thanking the Minister of Finance and thanking the Government for their work and being grateful for what we have been given. You know, nobody likes an ungrateful person, particularly an ungrateful native who has just been given some extra bucks. But I’m not going to do that today, because it’s not enough and it will never be enough until this Government and successive Governments in turn meet their contractual obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Waititi wasn’t only arguing for more money for Māori; he was pressing for more political power for Māori, too:

Until such time as a Tiriti-centric Aotearoa is in full operation, reflected not only in the equal share of power and resource, and in the return of our whenua, we will never be happy with any Budget that any Government proposes.

Waititi then said:

Every year successive Governments put forward a Budget that bamboozles the hell out of this nation—bamboozles everyone into confusion and submission. Governments throw a few million dollars to Māori kaupapa to keep the natives quiet. They throw a few more millions of what is said to be Māori money, knowing full well it goes into a universal bucket.

The intentional bamboozling leads Māori to believe they are climbing up the ladder when in fact the gap is growing wider and wider.

Governments know all too well that their Budgets for Māori don’t even scratch the sides of equity and equality. The small crumbs that are thrown our way is only playing bare minimum catch-ups for over 180 years’ worth of theft and oppression. This is why we are calling this Budget a Budget for the rich—the “Sheriff of Nottingham Budget”—tax the poor and give to the rich.

Through the conditioning of colonisation, us natives are expected time and time again to be grateful, to smile and nod for the hands that feed us, for the extra crumbs we receive—the narrative we will no longer accept, nor will we tolerate.

The extra crumbs can be measured in this government announcement:

The Māori Budget this year continues investment in whānau wellbeing, access to whare, and whakapapa, all of which support the Government’s plan to address the cost of living.

RNZ published this breakdown –
  • $200 million in extra funding to build and repair more homes through the Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga programme
  • $34m over two years for Te Matatini
  • $18m over four years to ensure “Matariki is funded into the future”
  • $168.1m over four years for Whānau Ora “to ensure immediate needs of communities are met, while working alongside them to meet their long term aspirations”
  • $132m increased funding for hauora providers, “including cheaper access to primary care, innovation funds for data, more rongoā services, and provide workforce development”
  • $225m for Māori education, including $10m “to help develop the local content needed so schools and kura can work together with mana whenua”
  • $51m over two years for Māori media
  • $11.7m for the Te Ao Mārama programmes in the courts
  • $8m boost for Māori tourism to “help the industry continue to recover from Covid-19 disruptions, withstand cost-of-living pressures and also meet increasing demand as international travel resumes”
Whether those crumbs are enough to keep Labour’s Māori supporters on-side will be a question that has a significant bearing on the election result later this year.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton


Anna Mouse said...

There are so many crumbs there you could make an entire loaf....

Anonymous said...

Of course Māori are also included in “the rest of us” group as well.

Anonymous said...

This distribution of funds is further proof that NZ is already an ethnocracy.

Anonymous said...

Maori mafia did very well, but according to them they were ripped off. Not enough of other peoples money went into their coffers as far as they were concerned.

mudbayripper said...

Why do we stand for it. On reflection New Zealand has always been an ethno apartheid state.
Unless this situation is reversed there will be repercussions that will not end well. True democracy is fragile and has never been enjoyed by New Zealanders. Certainly not since the treaty signing.
Who are Maori, they don't actually exist. They are but a construct of evil people who wish to do us harm.

Anonymous said...

Maori were Stone Age colonisers quite happy to eat their predecessors and each other. They were however self-servingly shrewd enough to leverage any advantage- devious or otherwise- in warfare. In due course they did the same with the British government. And wow, did they get the perks. But that was not good enough. But even as they diluted their DNA with crossbreeding, there are those who did not dilute their shrewd self-serving sense of innate greed and superiority and propoganda.

In the meantime real New Zealanders of all sorts of genetic mixes, skills, contributions are trashed and tarnished. I grieve for real New Zealanders.

Anonymous said...

New Zealanders of all races built this country and New Zealanders of all races pay to keep it running, despite the best efforts of Chippy and Grant.
So all New Zealanders want One NZ for all New Zealanders. That's our bottom line Waititi. So out with apartheid and racism, nepotism and Waipareira Trust style fraud and in with democracy as we know it.

JamesA said...

“It has clearly provided us evidence the focus is more on the middle to rich voter, and it hasn’t addressed the real big elephant in the room – that we have long-term pain from poverty, entrenched poverty in Aotearoa,” Ngarewa-Packer said.

In response to this comment.

If these suffering people put out their cigarettes, left their meth pipes in the cupboard, and the beer in the fridge, got off their bums and got a job then perhaps, just perhaps they wouldn’t be suffering so much pain.

In the words of NZ employer spokesperson (I forget his name or title) on ZB Hosking a while ago. “if you can put your undies on around the right way we will give you a job”.