Govt is dishing out millions to trim Maori power bills and protect their culture – but much more money will help the America’s Cup

It’s been a good day for troughers, nicely timed to bring a bit of extra Christmas cheer to the recipients.

A yacht race, the farm sector and Maori communities (in two separate announcements) will share the goodies.

  • Applications are invited for funding to enable renewable energy technologies to be trialled on Māori housing.  Half of the $28 million in the Renewable Energy Fund is available for these projects.
  • Eighteen initiatives have been announced to support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities “to safeguard at-risk mātauranga Māori, and protect indigenous knowledge from the ongoing threat of COVID-19”.  These include a new $5.7 million Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund.
  • Corporate largess is being distributed in the form of the $25 million Future Ready Farms programme led by Ballance Agri-Nutrients with co-investment of more than $10 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures Futures fund. This aims to develop new ways of meeting national environmental targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural chemical use, and nutrient loss to waterways.
  • The opening of the America’s Cup Village in downtown Auckland serves as a reminder that the Government is investing $136.5 million in the America’s Cup and associated events and infrastructure.  The Auckland Council has allocated $113 million.  Auckland ratepayers who also pay taxes are being bitten twice.

The calling of applications for money to enable renewable energy technologies to be trialled on Māori housing was announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare.

They say they want to get a range of small-scale projects under way that focus on generating renewable energy at home, such as installing solar panels, solar water heating and household batteries.

Half of the $28 million in the Renewable Energy Fund is available for projects on Māori housing and will be allocated through multiple funding rounds until 2024.

The other half, for trialling innovative renewable energy solutions on public housing, will be allocated through a separate process.

By submitting an Expression of Interest, applicants will be guided on providing any further information before being assessed against the funding criteria.

Up to $2 million of funding is available in the first funding round which will be decided  in March next year, and up to $400,000 is available per project.

“Harnessing clean, cheap energy to reduce energy bills for Māori is at the heart of this new fund. But it’s also been designed to further support the government’s commitment to renewable energy and climate change goals,” Peeni Henare said.

Harnessing clean, cheap energy to reduce the energy bills of the rest of the population obviously has not been forgotten, but how come half the money is being earmarked on a race basis to help  whoever might be eligible within just 17 per cent or so of the population?

Nurturing Maori culture came next.  Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced 18 initiatives

“ … to support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities to safeguard at-risk mātauranga Māori, and protect indigenous knowledge from the ongoing threat of COVID-19. “

These initiatives are being funded through the $20 million Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku programme announced in Budget 2020.

Key initiatives include direct funding for national cultural organisations to deliver wānanga and training programmes in partnership with communities, as well as contestable funding for specific projects.

The pandemic justification looms large in the Minister’s explanation:

“COVID-19 brought into sharp focus significant existing risks to mātauranga Māori, which in many cases is held by a small number of knowledge holders and arts practitioners – often kaumātua – who are particularly vulnerable to the global pandemic,” Carmel Sepuloni says.

Most of the initiatives will begin in early 2021 and will be delivered over two years.

  • Contestable funding, including a new $5.7 million Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund. This will support projects that protect and revitalise mātauranga and taonga on marae around the country.
  • Wānanga initiatives which support iwi, hapū and whānau and Māori communities to protect and share mātauranga around:
    • ngā toi Māori (Māori arts), kapa haka, hanga whare (built heritage), wāhi tapu and wāhi tupuna
    • preservation and conservation of taonga and mātauranga in all their forms, from audio-visual material to textiles.
  • Initiatives led by tohunga and pūkenga to promote the revitalisation of endangered art forms like taonga pūoro and tārai waka.

A full list of the Mātauranga Māori Te Awe Kōtuku initiatives is available here.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced a five-year partnership aimed at significantly reducing the food and fibre sector’s environmental footprint, while boosting economic growth and sustainability.

The $25 million Future Ready Farms programme is led by Ballance Agri-Nutrients with co-investment of more than $10 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund.

O’Connor says the programme will develop new solutions to meet national environmental targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural chemical use, and nutrient loss to waterways.

“It aims to trial and develop farm nutrient technologies that offer significant environmental benefits, while being economically viable for our farmers.”

The new programme features 12 projects, and will develop products, tools, and technologies to help farmers and growers to continue to build on their sustainable agricultural practices.

The outputs of the Future Ready Farms programme will address several sectors within the food and fibres sector including fertiliser manufacture, livestock production, forestry, horticulture, and arable, with projected benefits of $1.063b to New Zealand farmers by 2030.

Then there’s the sailing fraternity.

The ministerial statement on this one, issued in the names of Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff,  eschews the name “Auckland” and says the opening of the America’s Cup Village in downtown Tāmaki Makaurau “marks the start of an exciting summer of action on and off the water”.

Nash and Goff took part in the official opening ceremonies of the America’s Cup Village as part of the 36th America’s Cup, which includes TE POU – New Zealand House, on Auckland’s waterfront. This is a dedicated hospitality venue that showcases the country’s culture and manaakitanga.

The pandemic is mentioned in this statement, too.

“The opening of the Village marks the beginning of an incredible summer of racing, as teams battle it out for the 36th America’s Cup,” said Stuart Nash.

“The Village will be a focal point for fans from around Aotearoa to experience the excitement of the Cup first hand. This is the culmination of huge amount of work from host partners Crown and Council, the Wynyard Edge Alliance, Emirates Team New Zealand, and the Challenger of Record, Luna Rossa.

“The border restrictions that keep us safe from COVID19 could not have been imagined when we signed the hosting agreement in April 2019. The absence of large crowds of international spectators will make this event very different to earlier spectacles.

“However I know Kiwis are determined to celebrate our international reputation as a great sailing nation. We also take pride in the principle of manaakitanga and will ensure a warm welcome to visitors and participants. The America’s Cup Village will provide a focal point for this during the three month festival.”

The Government is investing $136.5 million in the America’s Cup and associated events and infrastructure, and Auckland Council has allocated $113 million.

Latest from the Beehive

15 DECEMBER 2020

Reappointment of Chief of Defence Force and Chiefs of Service

Minister of Defence Hon Peeni Henare has today announced the reappointment of the Chief of Defence Force and the three Chiefs of Service.

 Proposals sought for renewable energy trials on Māori housing

A new fund to enable renewable energy technologies to be trialled on Māori housing so whānau can save money on their power bills is open for applications, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare.

Tongariro visitors asked to respect the maunga

A campaign to help visitors stay safe and nurture the special values of Tongariro National Park, one of the country’s most popular summer visitor experiences launches today, Conservation  Minister Kiri Allan says.

Te tiaki i ngā mātauranga Māori e noho mōrearea nei i ngā pānga o te mate Korona

Safeguarding at-risk mātauranga Māori from the ongoing threat of COVID-19

Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Carmel Sepuloni, has announced 18 initiatives to support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities to safeguard at-risk mātauranga Māori, and protect indigenous knowledge from the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

Sails set for start of America’s Cup action

The opening of the America’s Cup Village in downtown Tāmaki Makaurau marks the start of an exciting summer of action on and off the water, say Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash, and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff.

Partnership to reduce food and fibre sector’s environmental footprint

A new five-year partnership seeks to significantly reduce the food and fibre sector’s environmental footprint, while boosting economic growth and sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.