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Ngaro says Pacific peoples get "a Cook Islands donut" in Budget 2018

18 May 2018

Posted in: Pacific Radio News, In The Studio,

The National Party spokesperson for Pacific Peoples says he's disappointed with the coalition government's allocation for Pacific peoples in this year's budget.

The Ministry of Pacific Peoples will get $10.9 million and the Minister Aupito William Sio says language is one of his main priorities. 

But National MP Alfred Ngaro says the government isn't delivering on its promises for Pacific and Māori.

"With the Pacific allocation around the vote, there's been really no increase... except for PEC [Pasifika Education Centre], they get an extra almost $358,000 to continue on for another year," he says.

"A bit disappointed because there were lots of promises that were made especially for Pasifika and Māori and we just haven't seen it in this budget."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says however that her government's Families Package is what will benefit Pacific people the most.

The government will use $5.5 billion over the next four years to increase the families tax credit income and introduce a winter energy payment to help pensioners heat their homes during cold months.

Ms Ardern says it'll make a big difference for Pacific families.

"Those who get Working for Families already essentially get more, quite a bit more... Anyone over 65, who's currently getting government support, they get extra money over winter months to help them pay their energy bills."

Mr Ngaro says Pacific people will also miss out on the government's lack of extra funding for health and social provider Whānau Ora.

Three commissioning agencies operate under Whānau Ora, one of them is Pasifika Futures, who work with Pacific families across the country.

The Labour Party promised a $20 million increase in funding for Whānau Ora last year but failed to deliver on it in this year's budget.

Mr Ngaro says it's a shame the community-driven provider is not being given anything more.

"One of the big losers is Whānau Ora. For the first time a government [National-led] put the allocation of a resource in the hands of our communities and now do we hear anything or see anything in the budget? A donut, maybe a Cook Islands donut. In other words, it's a big zero."

Watch Alfred Ngaro on Pacific Breakfast:


Tags: politics,