New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson delivered the 2021 Budget Statement Taukī Pūtea in Parliament today which contained around $67 million additional support for Pasifika Education, Employment, Health, and Languages as well as continued support for COVID-19 vaccination programmes in the Pacific.
$30 million over five years is budgeted to the Ministry for Pacific Peoples for “active labour market programmes, such as the further expansion of the Tupu Aotearoa programme to support around 7,500 Pacific Peoples into employment, training or education.”
Support for Languages increased with an overall lift of $20.8 million to support Pacific bilingual and immersion education. This includes $12 million over the next five years allocated to “support Pacific learners to learn in cultural and linguistic supportive environments by providing the first system-level investment in Pacific bilingual and immersion units in schools.”
Schools with high numbers of Pasifika students will receive $5 million over the next five years to “embed the principles and approach of Tapasā, a cultural competencies framework for teachers and leaders of Pacific learners.”
An additional $6.6 million is allocated for a cross-government Pacific Wellbeing Strategy to “lift outcomes for Pacific peoples, including creating a Pacific Wellbeing Outcomes Framework and building Pacific cultural competency and engagement across government.”
$16.2 million over five years is allocated from the Ministry’s budget “to support Pacific businesses as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. It provides immediate investment to accelerate recovery of Pacific businesses by working with localised regional partners to provide guidance and enable innovative ideas to operate in response to COVID-19.” This funding includes support for Pacific Business Trust to support enterprises, and other regional providers to deliver, housing solutions for Pasifika.
Funded from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, $16 million is allocated over five years for Ola Manuia: Pacific Health and Well-being Action Plan, including “support to Pacific health providers to implement Ola Manuia, investment into Pacific models of care, and development of Pacific community hubs.”
Ministry for Pacific People’s has been allocated an estimated $6.6 million operational funding over five years as well as an additional $46.5 million over five years from the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.
In the Budget Debate Tautohetohe Tahua National Party leader Judith Collins criticised the budget for lack of meaningful support for Pasifika, citing lack of progress in re-establishing the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme.
Marama Davidson, co-leader of the Green Party said more needed to be done to “confront the climate crisis”, saying Pasifika people are asking for this while seeing sea levels rising in the islands.
Image Credit: Parliament TV