Ministers are braying about the dispensing of budget goodies (and highlighting how your taxes are being spent)

The Point of Order Trough Monitor was seriously overheated on Budget Day and we switched it off.

Readers eager to learn who got their snouts into the rich swill dished up that day – and which troughers had their state-funded nourishment reduced  or withdrawn – will find it here.

Budget at a Glance 2019 (at-a-glance summary).

Budget Speech 2019

Summary of Initiatives in Budget 2019

The Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the Year Ending 30 June 2020

Summary Tables for the Estimates of Appropriations 2019/20

 Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations for the Government of New Zealand for the Year Ending 30 June 2019

Summary Tables for the Supplementary Estimates of Appropriations 2018/19

We suspect few readers can spare the time required to exhaustively scrutinise a myriad of spending decisions and work out whose wellbeing is being better served than others.

But the Trough Monitor has been reactivated this week and almost immediately registered a bundle of post-Budget press statements by Ministers who are keen (we may presume) to let their constituents know about their generosity with our money.

Two of the statements draw attention to race-based spending intended to benefit specific ethnic communities. 

Budget boosts Pacific-led wellbeing focus for Aotearoa

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio let it be known the Wellbeing Budget has secured an unprecedented amount of new funding of over $113 million over four years to boost support for Pacific communities across New Zealand.

The intention is to achieve these communities’ vision “of a confident, thriving, resilient and prosperous Pacific Aotearoa through Pacific-led solutions in education, health, languages & cultural, economic and community wellbeing”.    

Sio’s statement details a raft of ethnically directed spending decision, including $20 million over four years to establish a Pacific Language Unit,  $11.2m over four years to grow the Pacific economy and support Pacific businesses, $2.6m aimed at supporting Pacific people into home ownership through financial capability services, and $1.4m to grow Pacific skills and leadership into the public sector.

Wellbeing Budget recognises the importance of Kōhanga Reo 

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis brayed about a $32 million provision in the Wellbeing Budget for kōhanga reo, to lift wages, allow volunteers to be paid, update ICT capacity, and fund a stock take and repairs of buildings.  

Davis said the funding is a partial response to issues identified by the Waitangi Tribunal, who found in favour of a claim lodged by Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust (TKRNT) in 2011. The Crown has been working actively with TKRNT since 2017 to resolve these issues. 

The focus of the funding is to address:

  1. The cost of making urgent improvements to the Trust’s and kōhanga reo ICT capacity and capability ($2.5m).
  2. The costs associated with the state of some kōhanga reo buildings. The Ministry of Education is working with TKRNT to assess kōhanga buildings to identify the extent of the issues ($8.5m).
  3. Budget 2019 funding will provide a further $21.4m to:
    • Increase existing pay rates for kaiako and kaimahi (workers) to the Government’s stated 2021 minimum wage rate;
    • Maintain a level of existing relative pay rates for kaiako and kaimahi already above the minimum wage; and
    • Pay kaiako and kaimahi currently working as volunteers in roles that would normally be expected to be remunerated.
Funding for Growing Up in New Zealand study

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni drew attention to a Wellbeing Budget boost for New Zealand’s largest study of child development to  help the Government design the best possible services and policies to increase the wellbeing of children and families.  

The Growing Up in New Zealand study, run out of the University of Auckland, has been tracking the development of 6800 children born in 2009 and 2010. Another wave of data collection will now be possible when the children reach 11 years of age.

 The study will receive $17.1 million.  

Sepulini also announced that MSD is opening the fourth round of its $750,000 Children and Families Research Fund for research projects that explore and analyse the data gathered in the GUiNZ study.

Applications are open to academics, government agencies, public and independent research organisations and non-government organisations including iwi-based organisations and service providers.

 Information about dipping into this trough is available on the Ministry of Social Development’s website.

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