Govt announces more race-targeted budget spending and the further merging of Maori beliefs with science

More post-Budget funding announcements have been trumpeted from the Beehive in the past two days.

Maori beneficiaries are specified in two of the announcements.  We may reasonably suppose Maori have not been excluded from the services to be provided under the third announcement.

Oh, and the government has signalled  the further blending of Maori cultural values and spiritual beliefs in its freshwater policies.   More detail of how those beliefs will be integrated with science will emerge – it seems – in a few weeks.

Environment Minister David Parker said the Government plans to release a new freshwater National Policy Statement and a new National Environmental Standards for consultation in August.

“At the heart of our work on fresh water sits Te Mana o Te Wai – the mana of the water – which is a concept that encompasses the integrated and holistic health and well-being of a water body which can sustain the full range of environmental, social, cultural and economic values held by iwi/hapū and the community.”  

Te Mana o Te Wai provides the values, principles and practices required to maintain healthy freshwater, while the Ministry’s Te Mana o Te Wai fund helps local iwi realise their aspirations for freshwater, Parker explained.

With World Environment Day’s focus on air quality, he noted that  air quality is not the biggest environmental issue New Zealand faces but the Environment Ministry is reviewing the National Environmental Standard that sets limits on air pollution.

The latest announcements were:

New funding to improve water quality

Environment Minister David Parker announced Government funding  to help iwi in Whanganui, Gisborne and Omapere improve the health of their local waterways.

The $750,000 in total funding comes from the Ministry for the Environment’s Te Mana o Te Wai Fund, which is used to support the aspirations of local tangata whenua. It will be used to support three projects.

The announcement coincides with the United Nation’s World Environment Day.

The Whanganui-based Te kinakitanga o Ngati Tuera rāua ko Ngati Hinero will use its $250,000 to repair the health and wellbeing of the Whanganui awa, by improving water quality in the catchment, protecting and restoring habitat and ensuring biodiversity and ecosystems are sustainable for current and future generations.

In Northland Te Mana o Roto Omapere Me Ona Awa is developing a strategy to restore Lake Omapere. This will include engagement with those who have an interest in the lake and the development of a monitoring programme to measure lake health.

In Gisborne, Te Runanganui o Ngāti Porou Trust will work with council to develop a Joint Management Agreement. The agreement will establish the decision-making processes and planning processes to recognise Ngāti Porou hapū rights and interests in freshwater management.

Parker said that the Government plans to release a new freshwater National Policy Statement and a new National Environmental Standards for consultation in August.

The purpose of the Te Mana o Te Wai Fund “is to help Māori play an active role in improving the water quality of freshwater bodies (including lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and lagoons) that are of importance to them in their rohe”. 

Minister congratulates Auckland communities for housing initiatives

Māori Development and Associate Housing Minister Nanaia Mahuta congratulated two community organisations, Te Whanau o Waipareira and Te Hononga o Tamaki me Hoturoa, for their commitment to improving housing in the Auckland region.

The government invested $1.98m with Waipareira to enable the completion of 49 urgent housing repairs and 20 DIY workshops, she said.  It also invested $520,000 with Te Hononga to complete 23 urgent housing repairs and 15 DIY workshops.

And there’s lots more money where that came from:

“In last week’s Budget we announced an additional $40 million towards Māori housing over the next four year. This will ensure more whānau will access healthy, affordable, secure homes.”

Better mental health and addiction support facilities for Tairāwhiti

Health Minister Dr David Clark has confirmed funding for a new in-patient mental health and addiction unit at Hauora Tairāwhiti Gisborne Hospital.

The project will receive between $15m and $20m in funding from the $1.7 billion set aside in last week’s Wellbeing Budget for investment in hospitals and other health infrastructure over the next two years.

“The people of Tairāwhiti who require these services don’t have local access to a residential drug treatment facility or any dedicated residential treatment beds. This will now change as a result of our Wellbeing Budget,” said David Clark. 

“We know that hospitals and other health facilities play a key role in ensuring New Zealanders have access to high quality services, and that they get the care they need and deserve. 

“The DHB’s eight bed facility, Te Whare Awhiora, is not fit for purpose, particularly the seclusion rooms and outdoor areas. 

“This new funding will support Hauora Tairāwhiti to develop a new in-patient mental health and addiction unit. 

Funding for this project is subject to confirmation of the DHB’s detailed business case and final approval by joint Ministers, Clark said.


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