The Government has announced $1.2 billion for Māori as part of this year’s budget, with a large chunk going towards health, and a boost for Māori economic and employment initiatives.
Budget 2022 was announced on Thursday afternoon.
Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson said it was the highest Māori budget "in the history of Government", and shut down those critical of the sum.
"It's all nonsense, it's just amazing that we have another billion dollar budget."
Māori Health Minister Peeni Henare said he was “extremely proud" and said it would continue to support aspirations of whānau.
Green Party's Marama Davidson welcomed funding announced for the Māori Health Authority, but said it needed to be paired with a genuine commitment to partnership.
Meanwhile ACT leader David Seymour said the Budget gave too much for Māori initiatives.
“The Government’s decision to slice up over $1 billion based on race will not solve inequality,” said Seymour.
Last year's Budget saw $1.1 billion allocated. So where is this year's being spent?
Hauora - Health
Of the money, $579.9 million is being invested into various health initiatives, including $188.1 million to the Māori Health Authority over four years.
$168 million to the Māori Health Authority for direct commissioning of services and $20.1 million to support Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards
$30 million to support Māori primary and community care providers
$39 million for Māori health workforce development
Ōhanga Māori - Economy
There will be $155 million invested into the Māori economy and employment, following the Government’s $66 million funding boost last week to continue the Māori Trades and Training Fund.
Also included is $13 million for initiatives in the construction sector, $3 million for marae connectivity, $5 million for an iwi/Māori teacher workforce support package, $25 million cadetships to improve and extend Māori employment outcomes in the Cadetships Programmes, and $10 million for the Te Ringa Hāpai Whenua Fund.
Support for Progressive Procurement is also being extended with a further $26 million over the next two years.
Mātauranga Māori - Education
Māori education has been allocated over $200 million with $47 million for the Māori Language Programme funding at its highest level of immersion (Level 1).
Kelvin Davis, Associate Education Minister said funding would also be given directly to kura to address the needs of their ākonga (students) and whānau.
“We are also increasing operational and capital funding for Māori-medium education to ensure Māori-medium continue to strive and to allow kura to have good quality classrooms and the ability to purchase new sites for kura,” Davis said.
Te reo Māori, culture and Identity
In total, $28m over four years will go towards Te Pae Tawhiti, with a focus on intellectual property, genetic resources and international forums to protect matauranga Māori and taonga.
It includes a boost in support for Te Matatini to develop a regional kapa haka model, aiming to encourage more people to get involved in kapa haka throughout regions.
Āhuarangi Māori - Environment and climate change
There has been $162 million committed to whenua Māori entities to transition to a lower emissions land uses, reduce biological emissions and develop a Māori Climate Action Plan.
And $35 million in Agriculture Emissions Reduction funding aims to support more sustainable and productive land-use practices.
The package also includes $36 million to strengthen mātauranga-based approaches to reducing biological emissions, $16.3 million for an Equitable Transitions Programme, $30.5 million for Māori Climate Action and $11.6 for the Takutai Moana – Implementation of Engagement Strategy.
There is $40m set out for Māori broadcasting, with other funding for Māori media to be announced next week.
Bernie O’Donnell director of Radio Waatea told 1News on Wednesday the entity had been significantly underfunded since its inception, which has meant the industry has struggled to attract newcomers or graduates.
"The industry’s just not attractive for our rangatahi that are coming through kura kaupapa, whare kura and wananga Māori and so they inevitably go to other sectors, a lot of them go to and work for the Crown because that’s where their language skills and their view of the Maori world are really valued.
"So the cupboard’s pretty bare in terms of journalists, in terms of broadcasters, because the option for our people to work there just isn’t sustainable."