24 May 2012

Young Maori in education benefit from Budget

7:03 pm on 24 May 2012

There is new money for Maori in education in the 2012 Budget announced on Thursday.

Some $19.087 million has been allocated to Maori language early childhood education services to be spread over four years.

The spending is aimed at getting more tamariki into Maori pre-schools - including kohanga reo services.

The Ministry of Education says initiatives will be developed and delivered through iwi and other partners.

There is also an increase in what is called Equity Funding - money to support and help children achieve educational success, particularly Maori and Pasifika students.

That initiative will receive nearly $50 million over four years - and will be spent across the entire early childhood education sector.

The Government says 230,000 homes will be insulated, an increase of 41,000 properties, through its Heat Smart programme. It is a policy that has been driven by the Maori and Green parties through their agreements with National.

Elsewhere, the Budget speech by Finance Minister Bill English confirmed earlier announcements that there would be spending in several other areas. These include money to tackle rheumatic fever and funding aimed at reducing reoffending through more drug, alcohol and rehabilitation treatment.

A financial consultancy firm says the Budget for the Ministry of Maori Affairs (Te Puni Kokiri) is quiet - with no surprises.

Hamiora Bowkett, a director with PricewaterhouseCoopers' consulting team, says the ministry is not immune from Government orders to all departments to tighten their belts.

Mr Bowkett says year-on-year, there is a slight dip in funding from $210 million to $208 million.

That small reduction is expected, because spending on the Whanau Ora concept has passed its peak, he says.