Churches – or 27 Pasifika churches, to be ethnic-specific – are to benefit from the government largess being distributed in the name of the Covid-19 response and recovery programme.
These churches will receive a total of nearly $10 million in government funding for renovations and improvements, “to improve facilities for the communities they serve and create jobs”, as Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio explained.
Provincial Growth Fund money for the renovation of town halls, war memorials, Pasifika churches and marae were earmarked in May as part of at least $600 million refocused on projects with more immediate jobs and economic benefits as part of the Covid-19 recovery.
The churches that applied are spread throughout the regions – from Balclutha to Oamaru and up to Hamilton, Jones said.
A good question to ask is how many missed out on getting a helping hand from taxpayers and why did they fail to be given the government’s blessing.
The renovation work will provide up to 400 jobs, according to Jones’ estimate.
Aupito William Sio said that during COVID-19, Pasifika churches played a leading role in bringing agencies together to provide support, confidence, strength and resilience for Pacific communities in need.
No doubt they did. But Taxpayers’ Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says :
“This kind of hyper-targeted spending can only be read as vote-buying. With a growing Debt Monster, now is not the time to fork out millions for church renos.
“At least previous Provincial Growth Fund recipients have been taxpaying businesses. Churches, however, don’t pay taxes.
“This is technically a business-as-usual Government announcement but it reads like pure election politics. In the week that postal voting opens for the election, this is the Government exploiting taxpayer money for the sake of its re-election campaign.”
In a subsequent announcement, Sio has invited Pacifika people to another trough within his Pacific Peoples ministerial bailiwick.
Round two of the Community Languages Fund will provide even more support for Pacific grassroots community and family language projects with the introduction of a second funding tier of $10,000, in addition to the $2,500 tier, he brayed.
A tierful ministerial announcement, you might say.
During the first round of the CLF, which closed on 31 July 2020, applicants were able to apply for up to $2,500 in funding to support language projects in their homes and in their community.
Launched following the Languages Innovation Fund pilot programme for community funding administered by the Ministry for Pacific Peoples Languages Unit, the first round of the CLF received 143 applications over the eight weeks it was open.
And guess what?
“This was more than double the number of applications received under the Languages Innovation Fund,” says Aupito William Sio.
The government – it seems – made it easy to slurp at the goodies in this trough.
“Based on feedback from community groups, the main reason for the CLF’s popularity was the simple and straightforward application process.
“Another contributing factor was the on-going engagements with the community, which provided a bit more clarity on what was expected when applying for the fund.”
Groups had been able to apply for funding to support events being run through the Pacific Language Weeks and the government noticed – again, we ask: guess what?
There was an influx of applications from the larger cities – and a growing number of smaller groups in the regions was applying for funds. too, to support their language week initiatives.
“What these trends highlight is the need to support the growth of these community initiatives not just in the immediate future, but also in their long-term planning and development of language initiatives.”
A need for taxpayers to do the supporting at a time when the public debt is burgeoning?
The answer in the Beehive, clearly, was yes.
What’s more, it’s greater support than before (which means more money than before) should be dispensed.
When the Languages Unit assessed applications for round one, it was evident some of the projects would cost more than $2,500, specifically projects that create language resources such as app development, books, and digital resources,” says Aupito William Sio.
And that’s why round two of the CLF is providing a second funding tier of $10,000 in addition to the $2,500 tier.
Round two of the CLF is open from today and will close on 28 October, which will be the final round of CLF funding for 2020.
For further information and how to apply, visit the Ministry for Pacific Peoples website: https://www.mpp.govt.nz/community-funding/community-languages-fund/
Elsewhere in the Beehive, the Government was committing nearly $9 million to ensure educators in early learning services and schools get the wellbeing support they need.
This was announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins when he addressed the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) annual conference.
The “educator wellbeing package” includes:
- An immediate $4.2m package of counselling and support services for Auckland educators. This package delivers, over a three month period, additional free-of-charge Employment Assistance Programme (EAP) advice and group workshops on issues of concern to staff in state and state-integrated schools, kura, and early learning services. These services will be rolled out during Term 4 2020.
- A further $2m has been set aside to provide additional immediate EAP counselling and support services in locations or regions experiencing a further resurgence of COVID-19, with more options to provide nationwide support to be investigated in the coming months.
- $1.5m to develop a nationwide wellbeing online hub to provide additional support until June 2023 for all of the more than 130,000 educators in New Zealand, and their whānau. The hub will provide a range of easily accessible advice, including peer to peer support and some materials specifically developed for the education sector. This is expected to be up and running before the end of this school year and is in addition to other general wellbeing online information provided by the Ministry of Health.
- Up to $1m, over three years, to support the wellbeing of the Māori education workforce in Māori medium educational settings.
Latest from the Beehive –
30 SEPTEMBER 2020
Round two of the Community Languages Fund (CLF) will provide even more support for Pacific grassroots community and family language projects with the introduc
The Government is committing nearly $9 million to ensure educators in early learning services and schools get the wellbeing support they need.
29 SEPTEMBER 2020
Pasifika churches around the country will receive a total of nearly $10 million in government funding for renovations and improvements which will improve facilities for the communities they serve and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio have announced.
New data from Stats NZ today shows a rise of more than 9,000 filled jobs from July – driven mostly by the education and training sector, Grant Robertson says.