Over $56 million prioritised for Māori communities in coronavirus support package

Source: 1News

A package with $56.4 million in funding has been set aside to support Māori communities and businesses amid the fallout through the coronavirus pandemic. 

Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has announced today the Government's plan dedicated to supporting Māori. 

“We know that we need to help our people and provide targeted support to Māori businesses and help our vulnerable Māori communities," Mr Henare told TVNZ1's Marae today. 

The announcement also included $10 million from the Māori development vote to be reprioritised in order to support the community outreach. 

It will include a refocusing of the Te Puni Kokiri regional hubs to support whānau, hapū and iwi, partnering with them to provide tools and resources needed for a 'targeted response' to Covid-19. 

Support will be provided to Māori health workers in order allow their expertise in order to reach and assist Māori in assessing psychological needs within the community.

According to Peeni Henare, $30 million has been set aside to directly support Māori health workers with an additional $15 million redirected to supporting to Whānau Ora commissioning agencies. 

“To protect our people, especially our kaumātua and kuia, we can’t solely rely on them engaging with the health system, but instead we must engage with our people, in their neighbourhoods, communities and homes."

Financial support will be provided to Māori health providers to help them meet increasing demand, more support for additional workforce capacity, new guidelines for Māori preparing for self isolation, as well as kuia and koroua support. 

Funding has also been provided to  Māori-led, Māori-specific vaccination programme to address equity issues, community based assessment centres and allow support for the workforce of Whanau Ora. 

An additional $1 million will assist businesses with assessing their needs which will be used in an upcoming Māori business response plan.  

Te Arawhiti has also been given $470,000 in order to support and work with iwi around the country to formulate pandemic response plans. 

He Poutama Rangatahi will redeploy 2000 young workers around the country to help deliver services. 

Their programmes operate across four regions with significantly high Māori populations.