Budget 2018: Govt sets up $37m Māori development fund

8:01 pm on 17 May 2018

A Māori development fund of $37 million has been set up in Budget 2018 to provide funding for Māori housing, land reform and youth employment training.

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Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta. Photo: RNZ

The vote Māori development fund will provide the new operational funding across four years.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the government wanted to see improvement for Māori in all areas of social and economic development.

The Māori Housing Network will be allocated $15 million to provide assistance and resources to whānau and Māori housing providers to support papakāinga development and housing repairs.

There will also be $15 million available to improve education and employment outcomes for Māori youth - targeting those not in education, employment of training.

And $7m will be allocated to the administration of Māori whenua or land reforms.

The director of Māori advisory firm Tuia Group, Toko Kapea, said he noticed a lack of targeted funding for Māori in this year's budget.

"We need to make sure that Māori have access to the contestable larger pockets of money. For example at MBIE [Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment] or MPI [Ministry for Primary Industries]," he said.

Mr Kapea said the initiatives that had been funded all made sense and would generally find support in the Māori community - but $37 million wasn't a huge amount of money.

"The issue is how is that money is going to be used and implemented and there might be enough to do some of those things," he said.

"But I totally acknowledge as a headline it's not as substantial as it could have been."

Toko Kapea

Toko Kapea Photo: Tuia Group

Minister for Māori Education Kelvin Davis also announced $14.5 million in funding to integrate te reo Māori into schools and provide pathways so rangatahi can excel in te reo Māori and tikanga.

Te Ahu o te reo Māori will receive $1.1 million of new operating funding in the next year and $11.4 million in operation funding over the following three years.

This funding will go towards a package of initiatives for delivering quality of te reo Māori education.

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