Pacific services receive $196m boost in NZ Budget – new RNZ radio boost

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Vanuatu Chief Ben Lovo and his family
Chief Ben Lovo and his family of Bongkil Village on Erromango, Vanuatu. Shortwave broadcasts from RNZ Pacific during Cyclone Pam in 2015 allowed him to warn four villages and save hundreds of lives. Image: Koroi Hawkins/RNZ

RNZ Pacific

A total of NZ$196 million has been set aside for Pacific services in Aotearoa New Zealand in this year’s Budget.

A big chunk of that — $76 million will go on Pacific health services.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the cash injection would be used to support Pacific health providers, to improve infrastructure, fund a targeted diabetes prevention and management programme and prepare for system reform.

Operating funds to the tune of $47 million have also been announced for Pacific education and employment initiatives.

The funds would be used to support Pacific science, technology, engineering, arts and maths opportunities, Robertson said.

An initial $49 million has been set aside for building 300 houses for Pacific people in eastern Porirua over the next decade.

The government’s pledge to deliver an historical account of the Dawn Raids — a crackdown on mostly Pacific migrants to New Zealand in the 1970s — receives $13.7m in funding.

The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said the priorities in this year’s Budget were in line with its Pacific Wellbeing Strategy.

“This strategy is aimed at lifting Pacific wellbeing and aspirations in health, housing, education, business, employment, incomes, leadership, Pacific arts, sports, music and STEAM career pathways,” he said.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio
Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio … “This strategy is aimed at lifting Pacific wellbeing and aspirations in health, housing, education, business, employment, incomes, leadership, Pacific arts, sports, music and STEAM career pathways.” Image: Samuel Rillstone/RNZ

Dawn Raids account, home build project included in Pacific package
“This government is committed to delivering on its Dawn Raids apology package in this Budget as well,” Aupito said.

“The package will give greater public understanding of what Dawn Raids means to our nation and to enable the Teu le Va — to help restore harmonious relationships of mana and dignity, and empower our young people especially to be resilient, confident and vibrant.”

Included in the Budget for New Zealand’s Pacific community:

  • A package to build up to 300 homes over the next 10 years for Pacific families in Eastern Porirua, with initial funding of $49m in the forecast period.
  • $13.7 million to implement the government’s commitment to deliver a Dawn Raids historical account.
  • $49.9 million for the Pacific Provider Development Fund, to support Pacific providers to adapt their models of care into the new health system.
  • $20 million to implement a diabetes prevention and treatment programme for targeted Pacific communities in South Auckland.
  • $8 million boost to continue the delivery of Tupu Aotearoa, which enables the delivery of personalised Pacific employment and training services.
  • $15.5 million investment into Pacific economic development, which aims to meet community demand for services to support “shovel-ready” Pacific businesses and social enterprises across New Zealand.
  • $1.6 million to maintain the Pacific Work Connect Programme which supports the continuation of a Pacific migrant support service.
  • $18.3 million boost to the Toloa Science, Technology, Education, Arts and Mathematics programme. This initiative provides opportunities across Pacific peoples journeys through education and employment.
  • $2 million to maintain and grow the Tulī Takes Flight and Pacific Education Foundation Scholarships, to Pacific education scholarships to address education system inequities.
  • $13 million to support the growth of the Pacific bilingual and immersion schooling workforce and the retention of the current workforce.
  • Up to $5 million of reprioritised funding over four years to fund further Professional Learning and Development (PLD) focussed on Tapasā: cultural competencies for teachers of Pacific learners.

New transmitter for RNZ Pacific
The government has also announced $4.4 million for RNZ Pacific to buy a new transmitter to broadcast news across the Pacific.

Described as “critical infrastructure”, the transmitter is among plans for a new public media entity which is set to start operating next year.

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said the funding of the media entity would ensure New Zealanders could continue to access quality local content and trusted news.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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