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Just the beginning – here for the long term

Hon Tariana Turia and Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Co-Leaders of the Maori Party Embargoed until 3pm on 20 May 2010

Just the beginning – here for the long term

The $286 million specifically secured by the Maori Party in today’s Budget will set the scene for change and a foundation to transform the lives of many Maori whänau.

“This year’s Budget is just the beginning of the work we are doing to bring about change and transformation,” Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said.

“The circumstances of Maori haven’t happened overnight, they are intergenerational and will not go away in one term so we are definitely here for the long-haul,” she said.

The $286 million included $134.3 million to implement the party’s flagship policy, whanau ora, announced recently.

“We will be supporting today’s Budget legislation because our people are depending on whänau ora to bring the change that is really needed out there,” Mrs Turia said.

“The momentum and interest I’ve seen on the faces of over 3500 people in the past two weeks has confirmed that we are heading in the right direction."

Dr Sharples said that despite a context of fiscal restraint, there were some real gems in Budget 2010 and as a result the Maori Party would be honouring its confidence and supply agreement with the Government by voting for the Budget this week.

“We have managed to progress a number of our party kaupapa in this Budget by getting new money to reduce criminal reoffending, to support kura kaupapa Maori, to seek justice by bringing an end to Treaty claims and to help develop Maori economic potential.

“We are proud that we have boosted the numbers of low income households that will benefit from the home insulation programme as well as increasing the funding for employment assistance for young people,” Dr Sharples said.

“We remain committed to advocating for the removal of poverty by 2020.

“We know there’s a lot more work to be done and our people can be assured that we’ll continue to advocate for them until the scales have been balanced and the gaps closed."

Maori were likely to benefit from other initiatives negotiated or influenced by the Maori Party, including, $48.1 million to raise the number of places on the Youth Guarantee scheme; $91.8 million for early childhood; about $100 million to support disabled persons and their whanau; and the expansion of the Computer Clubhouse programme.



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