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Budget: Less than 1% for so-called pacific priority

The government has said that 'targeted support for Māori and Pasifika aspirations’ is a priority for Budget 2019, however, only $135m has been allocated - the lowest budget allocation for the year ahead of the five priority areas and of this, a mere $20m is targeted at Pasifika communities in New Zealand.

“It is very disappointing to see only $20m out of a Well-Being purse of $3.8bn this year go to the most disadvantaged in New Zealand,” says John Fiso, Chair of Pacific Health Plus.

“Pacific people have the worst health stats, the worst housing and the lowest median wealth at $12, 000 per person, of any ethnic group in New Zealand.

“The Well-Being Budget was an opportunity for a desperately needed game changer, but this has not happened,” says Mr Fiso.

• Only one initiative supporting Pasifika aspirations has been highlighted in the overview of the 'Budget at a Glance' Treasury document - helping 2, 200 out of a population of 300, 000 into employment
• The government’s media release ‘celebrating’ support for Maori and Pasifika focuses on languages, not Well-Being, and gives $11m over four years to one organisation to develop a nationwide and lasting Pacific economy
• A miniscule $630, 000 has been given this year to help Pacific Islanders sustain home ownership over time - that’s equivalent to one Kiwibuild home - against a backdrop of the lowest home ownership rates in New Zealand

“The devil is always in the detail and we need robust discussion when initiatives are rolled out which appear positive but are actually a disproportionate and inequitable allocation of resources,” says Mr Fiso.

“As a matter of urgency, we need to improve transparency, management and oversight of programmes focused on Pasifika with commitment to quickly meeting the very basic needs for every family in a sustainable way.

“This must also include sharing information about the truth with communities who are most impacted and equip them to change it.

“Better informed Pasifika communities will lead to transparency and accountability,” concludes Mr Fiso.

Mr Fiso does point out positive developments in regard to modest budget allocations for training more Pacific midwives and nurses, preventing rheumatic fever in Auckland, developing Pacific models of health care and developing Pacific leaders in the public sector to contribute to economic strategy and direction.

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