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Budget delivers over $480 million for our Pacific Families

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga
MP for Maungakiekie
22 May 2013

Media Statement

Budget 2013 delivers over $480 million for our Pacific Families

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, MP for Maungakiekie, has welcomed over $480 million worth of announcements in Budget 2013 that will directly benefit Pacific families and the wider Pacific community. It will be invested in areas such as Housing, Social Development, Welfare Reform, Health and Education.

In Housing, Budget 2013 delivers $100m over 3 years into the Warm up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme. This will target low-income households for home insulation, particularly those families with children and high health needs. It is expected to insulate around 46,000 additional houses.

“The Warm up New Zealand: Healthy Homes programme will provide real health benefits to our Pacific community and ensure that our children and families are growing up in healthy, warm and dry homes.” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

In Education, Budget 2013 invests an extra $173 million for early childhood education, of which $41.3 million will support the participation of vulnerable children. Māori and Pacific Trades Training have also received a boost with an additional $43 million. Finally, $5.9 million will be targeted for a new mentoring programme to help vulnerable students achieve NCEA Level 2.

“Education is the key to a successful future for our Pacific people. Increasing the participation, achievement and involvement of our people in education is the path to greater incomes and better opportunities to support our families.” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

In Social Development and Welfare Reform, Budget 2013 delivers $188.6 million over 4 years for the next stage of welfare reforms. Also, $1.5 million in extra funding for budgeting services to help our Pacific families and $35 million of support is set aside in contingency for extended family members caring for children.

“This investment will deliver 354 extra WINZ staff to provide intensive help and support to assist more New Zealanders into work. Extra funding for budgeting services will continue to help our low income families plan for the future and become more financially independent.” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

The Government also wants to work in partnership with financial institutions and non-government organisations (NGOs) to explore alternative sources of finance for those on low incomes. Ministers will be investigating the possibility of micro-financing where community based organisations provide low and no interest loans to people with unsustainably high debt or who cannot access affordable credit.

“Our Government is serious about helping the most vulnerable in our communities and putting them on a path to financial independence.  We are also looking at building the financial literacy of our communities to make better informed financial decisions.” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

Finally in Health, Budget 2013 invests $21 million to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever and $35.5 million for diabetes and heart disease. A further $12.8 million has also been announced for more patients to access CarePlus, a GP based programme to provide additional support for patients with long term conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

“Our Pacific community is disproportionately affected by rates of rheumatic fever. It is a serious, yet preventable disease that has been a problem for far too long. We are determined to reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by 2/3rds to 1.4 cases per 100,000.” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

“Our Government has delivered real positive gains in the areas that matter to our Pacific communities. With economic growth forecast to be between 2-3% for the next 4 years, we need to invest in the areas that will get our Pacific people into jobs and taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves in the future.” Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

--ENDS—

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