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Māori Party Should Come Clean on the Budget

22 May 2007

Māori Party Should Come Clean on the Budget

It is deeply disappointing that the Māori Party continues to misinform voters about Budget 2007 and how it invests in Māori, says Māori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.

Last week in Parliament Pita Sharples said the Budget allocated just $19.9 million in new annual funding specifically to Māori. This week in a column the party's other co-leader Tariana Turia changed that number to $18.57 million a year.

"It's a shame that several days after the Budget, when they've had plenty of time to get their sums right, the Māori Party is continuing to misrepresent the situation. But I suppose the fact that the two co-leaders can't even agree on the same figure says it all."

Budget 2007 has invested about $170 million over four years in new funding initiatives specific to Māori – and that is on top of a range of other Māori initiatives which are already underway and being funded.

Not all of the funding is for a four year period, but if it were split in four – as the Māori Party has tried to do - it would amount to $42.5 million a year. Over double what its co-leaders are claiming, Mr Horomia said.

"I have seen the calculations the Māori Party has used to reach its latest stab-in-the-dark figure. They don't include the $2 million in new money we're investing into working with Māori whānau and communities to prevent violence. And they don't include the $102 million set aside to build kura and wharekura over the next four years. We're spending $38 million of that money on kura and wharekura alone in 2007/08 – which shows how ridiculous their calculations are."

Mrs Turia also appears to suggest in her column that the Government has done nothing for beneficiaries. On April I the Government increased tax credits for all low and middle income parents – including beneficiaries - by another $10 a week per child. The Budget will pay for this as well as investing in cheaper doctors visits and prescriptions.

These and a range of other big- ticket health, education and other Budget allocations clearly benefit Māori, despite the Māori Party's claims to the contrary, he said.


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