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BUDGET 2001: Strengthening Maori communities

24 May 2001

Budget 2001 – strengthening Maori communities

Minister of Maori Affairs Parekura Horomia says Budget 2001 contains many initiatives to strengthen Maori communities and local economies.

"The budget enhances the capacity building process begun last year to provide local solutions to local problems. Communities do not want handouts from Government. They do not want answers from Wellington bureaucrats.

"They want the opportunity to strengthen and renew themselves after generations of unemployment, poor health, low educational achievement and substandard housing."

Mr Horomia said he was particularly pleased with the on-going funding of two key programmes administered by Te Puni Kokiri - $2.88 million for the Maori Business Facilitation Service and $8.5 million for Capacity Building.

“We had a phenomenal response to those budget initiatives last year. Over the past 12 months the areas of greatest demand have been identified and solutions designed to meet those demands. Now we want to build on past successes and continue to push for new ones.

"Hundreds of clients have registered with the Maori Business Facilitation Service, seeking advice and assistance for new, struggling and expanding companies."

Funding for capacity building was available across portfolios and was usually allocated on a regional basis.

"Capacity Building is a continuous process. The first step is about communities setting their own direction. The second step is about securing the right resources to do the work. The third step is about making sure the short and long term goals are being met and that resourcing is being well used. Some communities may start at step one. Others are further down the track, " Mr Horomia said.

Some examples of capacity building initiatives include:

- Te Aitanga a Mahaki Trust [Te Karaka] - a marae-based cultural initiative
- Ngäti Kapo o Aotearoa Inc. [Hastings] – National Maori Blind Association
- Ohomairangi Trust [Auckland] – a strategic plan for education
- Mokai Community – community development and employment opportunities

"Applicants enter into contracts with government agencies, including Te Puni Kokiri, to ensure that the planned outcomes are achieved.”

Mr Horomia said Maori would also get real economic and social benefits from the on-going Modern Apprenticeships programme. Currently 20 per cent of the apprentices taken on under the scheme were Maori and plans were to expand it into the seafood industry where Maori were already significant players.

"The Westport Deep-Sea Fishing School and the Aoraki Seafood School in Timaru offer seafood processing and deep-sea skills and, most importantly, over 90 per cent of those trainees continue into full time employment."

Mr Horomia said Budget 2001 introduced direct resourcing of local level initiatives with $3 million in 2001-02 and a further $6 million in the following two years. [See statement with Minister Turia.]

"Tourism, a key area for Maori economic development, has also been recognised. Five Maori regional tourism organisations will share new funding of $338,000 in 2001-02. A similar amount has been allocated for the next two years, with $135,000 set aside for the year after.

"And there is funding for Maori television [$10.86 million in 2001-02 and $10 million a year thereafter.] Full details will be announced over the next weeks," the Minister said.


ends

NOTE: The Ministers of Maori Affairs will take part in a post budget breakfast briefing in Auckland.

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