Budget 2015 a missed opportunity for Māori
Supporting growth of Māori economy is vital for Aotearoa
Budget 2015 provides little new spending for supporting the Māori economy.
Deloitte partner Mark Lash (Ngāi Tahu) says that a vibrant Māori economy is necessary to provide Māori with the resources and capability to create better outcomes for Māori and Aotearoa.
“While government’s fiscal prudence is understandable given recent history and the still somewhat shaky international macro-economic outlook, today’s budget misses opportunities to maintain momentum in a number of key areas,” says Mr Lash.
Since Budget 2014, there has been only modest progress settling treaty claims with four agreements in principle, three new deeds of settlement and 5 settlements worth a total of $200 million passed into law. This represents a considerable decrease from last year’s totals.
“The absence of any funding increase in Budget 2015 to progress treaty claims, when clearly the Government appears to be struggling to maintain momentum, will result in a delay to the settlement process and an economic cost for Māori and the wider economy,” says Mr Lash.
To lift the financial returns from the Māori asset base, worth approximately $40b, more is required to encourage creativity and innovation in the Māori economy, and to support the commercialisation of those ideas.
“In our view spending on research and development (R&D), like the Budget 2015 announcement of an extra $80 million for Callaghan Innovation R&D growth grants and the recent increase in MBIE’s Māori science and innovation fund, need to be balanced with additional funding though the Māori Innovation Fund,” says Mr Lash.
“Unfortunately, the Government’s fiscal position put paid to any significant initiatives for Māori as part of Budget 2015 and the modest incremental changes available are unlikely to create any material new visible outcomes for Māori,” concludes Mr Lash.