Tōrangapū: Nanaia Mahuta discusses Budget 2018
We spoke to Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta regarding the latest announcement for Budget 2018.
Scotty: Minister, your colleagues describe this budget as 'bringing back manaakitanga' what do you mean by that?
Nanaia: All of our policies and everything in the budget centres around the family. When you listen to National they were okay with giving breaks to those who are well-off. It is our ethos that the benefits should be distributed more widely. We're increasing the funding pool for those who are not well-off, and to those families raising kids so that they are better off.
Scotty: You must be pleased with $37 million in new funding secured for your portfolio of Māori Development?
Nanaia: It's a start. What I'd like to say to our Finance Minister is to keep focused on the biggest issue we're facing which is the housing shortage. There is Māori kaupapa that are enabled through focusing on that, such as efforts to getting families to return home and set up homes for themselves on their very own land. So there's something in there for that. There's also something in the budget for our rangatahi in the education system. Willie Jackson will be looking after that through the allocation of funding that he has received which will be used to enhance Maori land. This is just the beginning.
Scotty: But critics have labelled this a 'budget of broken promises' citing the $20 million in extra funding pledged for Whānau Ora during the election campaign is not in this budget - what's your response?
Nanaia: The Minister is responsible for this. In his view, the programme needs to be reviewed first before it receives any new and extra funding. The biggest task for him is to find funding from elsewhere, from other ministers to support the programme. So, in my opinion, we should wait before anything further is done with the programme.
Scotty: So just to wrap up this year's Budget 2018 coverage. Last year's budget contained $328 million in funding for Māori initiatives, this year there's $316 million. Why has it gone down, even though there are so many Māori MPs in Labour?
Nanaia: Some of the funding has gone to other programmes. In the past
National thought it was a good idea to sell off our housing stock but as far is Labour concerned it's better to be building houses so our families can have homes to live in. There are also initiatives in health, education and housing construction. There are gains for Māori in those areas too in addition to everything else that comes under my portfolio, Minister of Māori Development.