Budget 2022: Greens MP Dr Elizabeth Kerekere says wins for health not enough for Māori or Rainbow

Today Greens Te Mātāwaka Chair and Health Spokesperson, Dr Elizabeth Kerekere, said “The Greens have long campaigned for an independent Māori Health Authority and pathways for Takatāpui and Rainbow healthcare.

“We welcome the substantial funding going into the new health system, Pae Ora, particularly for the Māori Health Authority, Iwi-Partnership Boards, Maōri health providers and workforce. The $191 million for PHARMAC will also improve the lives of many who cannot access the medicine and treatment they need.

“In the week bracketed by the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia, and Pink Shirt Day, this Budget also includes funding for mental health for Rainbow communities and better access to gender affirming and intersex health care.

“This is still not enough. Te Mātāwaka would like to see a Budget that properly invests in the broader social determinants of health. If the Government is serious about the new health system eliminating health disparities for Māori, it must also lift main benefits to liveable incomes, build enough public housing, and face the institutional racism and discrimination against Rainbow people in this country.

“With Aotearoa’s first Climate Plan, we are finally seeing real investment in caring for Papatūānuku. Whānau, hapū and iwi involvement is fundamental to the restoration and protection of our whenua, awa, moana and taiao for future generations - ngā whakatipuranga kei te heke mai” says Green Party spokesperson for Māori Development, and Te Mātāwaka Chair Dr Elizabeth Kerekere.

“We agree with the concerns raised by iwi, hapū, Māori and environmental groups that this Budget does not meet the scale of the climate crisis. It is a start but we will need a wave of public opinion to move this forward for the next Budget.

“Having Green Ministers makes a difference when it comes to the Budget. We congratulate both Hon. Marama Davidson for holding the mana of our people in violence prevention and iwi-led solutions to housing and homelessness, and Hon. James Shaw for initiating Aotearoa’s first Climate Plan.

The Green Party spokesperson for Education and Pasifika peoples Teanau Tuiono MP said

“Yes, every bit of extra pūtea helps but there is a huge chasm of inequity when you look at the funding between Māori medium education and mainstream education and  it is not just about dollar amounts but who is driving the waka. Our whānau who established and ran our Kohanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa, Kura-a-Iwi, Wharekura and Wānanga should never have to go cap-in-hand to the Crown. They should be calling the shots. 

So there is definitely more to be done. I would like to see more Māori solutions in our approach to education, such as a Māori Education Authority, which Te Rūnanganui, and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board, and Ngā Kura ā Iwi have called for.

Pasifika Wellbeing

Teanau Tuiono is relieved that the funding into Pasifika communities, education, housing and development has been doubled in this year’s Budget announcement.

“We have been consistently pushing for Pasifika-led initiatives and it is good to see our Pacific communities gain more support. What we saw during the pandemic is when our communities lead and are resourced to do so - things get done.

“We’ll keep pushing for more support, our Pasifika communities have shown a great amount of commitment to Aotearoa, but the Budget isn’t ambitious enough. We will continue to hold the Government to account. Reminding them that their decisions mean families continue to live with less.

“Liveable incomes for all is something that this Government can easily do. It’s comforting to see support for our low and middle income earners. However, if we are serious about ensuring everybody is healthy and thriving we need to do more to ensure families aren’t getting sick because they can’t afford food, power, water or medical support.

ENDS

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