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Budget has right direction for Maori and Pasifika kids

24 May 2012

Budget is a step in the right direction for Maori and Pasifika kids

Today’s budget is a step in the right direction for Maori and Pasifika children, Ririki’s Executive Director Anton Blank said today.

Education

“It’s great to see $19.1 million has been allocated to improve access to Maori immersion ECE services,” Anton Blank said today.

“Even-though 91% of our children are attending early childhood education, these attendance rates are slightly lower than the general population which tracks at around 95%.

“Maori educational achievement is increasing steadily with most Maori students now located in Maori learning environments – either a kura kaupapa Maori or a Maori dimension in a mainstream institution. This reinforces the need for continued government investment in kaupapa Maori education.

“There is an additional $82.6 million in operations grants to allow schools more flexibility to address the specific needs of groups of students.

“My hope is that individual schools will recognise the priority needs of Maori and Pasifka students. Only 55% of year 13 Maori students gain an NCEA qualification, which is still low compared to 68% of the general population.”

Health

More investment in health is another plus in this year’s budget.

“Maori and Pasifika children have two to three times poorer health than other groups of children, and they are especially vulnerable to poverty-related illnesses such as rheumatic fever and bronchiectasis.

“While some of the new investment is encouraging, like the additional $20.5 million allocated to strengthen maternity services, my hope is that the high needs of Maori and Pasifka families is recognised within this spend.

“More money needs to be directed towards these families, and there needs to be even greater investment in kaupapa Maori and Pasifika services.”

Housing

“$11m towards improved insulation of houses will go some way to addressing housing and health issues, which is an issue for Pasifika families in particular. They are more likely to live in overcrowded and poorly insulated homes.

“This investment should be supported by communications that encourage Maori and Pasifika families to access the assistance available.”

Law and Order

“With just under half of our prison population being Maori, greater investment in the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners should have flow on benefits for our whanau.”

Last year Every Child Counts published a report of Maori and Pasifika child poverty called He Ara Hou – The Pathway Forward (Getting it right for Aotearoa/New Zealand’s Maori and Pasifika Children. The report showed that just over half of the New Zealand children living below the poverty line are Maori and Pasifika.

“This budget shows some very encouraging developments, but the priority needs of Maori and Pasifika children and families must be explicitly prioritised within any new funding allocations.”

ENDS

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