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Budget Proves Commitment To Whānau Ora

“During lockdown whānau shared with us the grim realities of job loss and worklessness, financial insecurity, compromised health, poor housing, over-crowding and the overwhelming consequences in increasingly fragile situations,” said Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Chief Executive Helen Leahy.

“The commitment to new Whānau Ora funding of $25 million through to the end of the 2021/22 financial year is welcome relief for those 19,000 additional whānau members we supported over the lockdown period, the 18,000 whānau members who we work with on a daily basis throughout the year; and to those we are yet to meet.”

“Last night, after a briefing from the Minister for Whānau Ora, Hon Peeni Henare, we were heartened to see that these needs and rights of whānau in the wake of COVID-19 have been considered in the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund for Whānau Ora.

“We are pleased that the government has seen fit to invest not only in COVID-19 recovery and rebuild, but also in the strengthening of whānau resilience and support for Whānau Ora Navigators to walk alongside whānau in the difficult days ahead.

“Now that the detail is evident, we thank Hon Peeni Henare for his advocacy and determination to ensure direct investment in whānau through Budget 2020,” said Ms Leahy. “The process of change needs champions. The Minister has proven through this Budget his commitment to whānau champions; to Whānau Ora and to the value of aspirational thinking in guiding our waka forward.

“Ahead of the upcoming World Health Assembly in Geneva, UN Secretary-General Antonia Guterres has called for ambitious commitments from countries to do much more to protect all those facing mounting mental pressures.

“Throughout the lockdown period, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu instigated the Manaaki20 campaign to capitalise on the desire whānau already possess to manage their own solutions. We had to act fast, pivot our approach, and create an ecosystem of support overnight,” said Ms Leahy.

“I am so proud of the way our team across Te Waipounamu mobilised, compelled by the desperate calling to get it right for whānau.”

As part of Manaaki20 whānau were encouraged to fill in online surveys to describe their current situation - one woman responded:

My anxiety. My depression, lack of supplies due to my anxiety causing me not to shop as I usually would. Lack of things to do, running out of power now we are all here all the time. Running out of food, falling behind on bills, no heating. Stress. And all the normal parent things we worry about generally.”

“Our approach is always led by whānau. We begin with the premise that those who experience disparity know best what the answers are. We have approached the Minister with a threefold plan: to restore, refocus and reimagine. We appreciate that we are now in a stronger position to invest directly in whānau to support their aspirations, to nurture their capacity to recover from the shocks of COVID-19, and to set forward on a bold pathway forward.”

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