Whānau Ora will receive a $40 million boost of operating funding over the next four years, allowing it to substantially increase the number of whānau it can support, Māori Development and Whānau Ora Minister Te Ururuoa Flavell says.
Budget 2016 also includes $4 million to provide microfinance to whānau and $5 million to go toward increasing Māori electoral participation.
“Whānau Ora has had great success helping families in crucial areas such as managing health and disability issues, improving financial literacy skills, and reducing household debt,” Mr Flavell says.
“It has proved invaluable for those that it has engaged, but there is a strong need to expand its services so it can reach more people in need.”
The funding means support for up to 2,500 more whānau and families on top of the more than 5,000 that are already being supported.
The $4 million over the next four years to provide microfinance to whānau aims to improve financial independence for whānau, including whānau-led small and medium enterprises.
“This builds on trials previously undertaken in South and West Auckland to strengthen the financial capability of whānau and address the lack of access to capital for small and medium enterprises,” Mr Flavell says.
“This initiative aims to ensure whānau who need to take out loans won’t be trapped by huge interest rates and massive debt. It is also an opportunity to target programmes geared towards increasing Māori entrepreneurship and innovation.”
Increasing Māori electoral participation is also a feature of Budget 2016, with $5 million provided in operating funding over the next four years.
“Voting is a basic civic right guaranteed to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.
The persistent low enrolment and turn-out by Māori voters in local body and national elections means Māori aren’t exercising their political influence to its full extent,” Mr Flavell says.