22 Mar 2020

Māori communities, businesses get help to respond to Covid-19

2:44 pm on 22 March 2020

The government has announced more than $56 million to support Māori communities and businesses respond to Covid-19.

Labour MP and Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta

Photo: VNP / Daniela Maoate-Cox

The majority - $40m - comes from targeted health funding which was included in the government's $12.1 billion Covid-19 economic package, announced on 17 March.

Another $16m has been reallocated from other sources across government.

Last week there was criticism from iwi and other Māori leaders about the government's lack of response or targeted funding for Māori in the face of Covid-19.

Thirty million dollars will go to targeted health funding for Māori and $10m for whānau Māori outreach.

Fifteen million will go to Whānau Ora to reach into Māori communities and a further $1m to provide Māori businesses with advice and planning and $470,000 will be going to Te Arawhiti to work with iwi on local response plans.

"Māori ministers have been developing a range of responses, and today we are announcing a further package that takes a whole of government approach to providing health, social and economic support tailored to meet the specific needs of Māori," Minister for Whānau Ora, Peeni Henare said.

Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta said Te Puni Kōkiri has also started mobilising to help with the response, which includes partnering with whānau, hapū, iwi and communities to give them the tools and resources they need to support a targeted response.

"The welfare of our whānau is at the heart of our response to Covid-19 and we will be reprioritising $10m from the Māori Development vote to support this community outreach," she said.

Minister of Tourism and Māori Crown Relations Kelvin Davis said NZ Māori Tourism and the Federation of Māori Authorities have partnered to provide support and guidance to struggling Māori businesses.

"Together an extra $1m of funding will enable a needs assessment for Māori businesses, and following this a Māori business response plan will be produced and implemented."

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