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Māori Party delivers for vulnerable whānau

Māori Party delivers for vulnerable whānau

For the first time in 43 years, as a result of the Māori Party’s relentless focus on supporting whānau, and through the establishment of the Ministerial Committee on Poverty, $790 million in support today through Budget 2015 will be directed towards whānau with children most in need.

“Today all of Aotearoa can rest easier from the announcement that our most vulnerable whānau will benefit from the $790 million hardship fund. This marks the first time since 1972 that any Government has made an increase to core benefit rates for families,” says Mrs Fox.

“Our advocacy has produced a historic and much needed result for our country’s most vulnerable families – Māori and non-Māori,” said Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox.

“Our track record speaks for itself,” says Mrs Fox.

In 2008, when the Māori Party first entered into a Relationship Accord with the Government, we prioritised realising Whānau Ora through eliminating poverty, advocating for social justice and advancing Māori social, cultural, economic and community development in the best interests of the nation.

In 2011, through the second Relationship Accord, the Government established a Ministerial Committee on Poverty spearheaded by our founding Māori Party Co-leader Hon Dame Tariana Turia.

“In 2014, the Māori Party negotiated to ensure the continuity of the Ministerial Committee on Poverty and Marama Fox, the only non-Ministerial MP on it, continues our legacy to advocate for eliminating poverty,” says Māori Party co-leader and Waiariki MP, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell.

“For the past decade, we have not resiled from our commitment to doing more to achieve Whānau Ora, and today the Māori Party is proud to take the credit for the $790m in budget gains for whānau in hardship,” says Mr Flavell.

Mrs Fox says “this is a continuation of the legacy of Hon Dame Tariana Turia. We pay tribute to both Tariana and Pita for their courageous leadership to address the issues of poverty, social injustice and other inhibitors to achieving Whānau Ora head on”.

“It takes courage to do the right thing, even when it’s not popular. Today’s announcement will give much needed and long overdue relief to a part of our society whose voices have gone unheard for generations and we applaud this bold step taken by the Government today.”

Under the new fund, families with children on benefits will get an extra $25 a week, while working families with children, on low incomes, will get between $12.50 and $24.50 per week.

It is estimated that 310,000 families and 570,000 children will benefit from the increases.

Hon Te Ururoa Flavell said “the gains the Māori Party made in Budget 2015 will continue to support whānau to make a real difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. This builds on the tangible initiatives the Māori Party advanced in previous years to tackle poverty, including:

• Warm up New Zealand

• Rheumatic Fever Prevention

• Free GP visits and prescriptions for under 13-year-olds

• Expansion of paid parental leave

• Extension of eligibility for parental tax credit

• Support services for alcohol and drug rehabilitation”

Mrs Fox estimated the extra money would reach 100,000 Māori families including 89,000 children.

In addition to the $790 million hardship relief, the Māori Party has secured an additional $37.4 million this year for other whānau initiatives:

• $35.3 million, over the next four years, to ensure vulnerable whānau are supported to become resilient, with assistance from Whānau Ora Navigators.

• $2.1 million, over the next two years, to support initiatives to prevent suicide among Māori youth, using a Whānau Ora approach.


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