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Source: New Zealand Government

Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare has today announced the Government’s plan to support Māori communities and businesses in the face of COVID-19.

“Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it’s through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or the $500 million fund to strengthen our fight against COVID-19, and ensure health services are there for those who need them the most,” Peeni Henare said.

“But as Māori Ministers we know there are specific challenges for Māori that require a specific response.

“We know that we need to help our people and provide targeted support to Māori businesses and help our vulnerable Māori communities.

“Māori Ministers have been developing a range of responses, and today we are announcing a further package that takes a whole of government approach to providing health, social and economic support tailored to meet the specific needs of Māori,” Peeni Henare said.
 

Whānau Māori Community and Mārae package 

 “The welfare of our whanau is at the heart of our response to COVID-19 and we will reprioritising $10 million from the Māori Development vote to support this community outreach,” Māori Development Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta said.

 The steps taken by Te Puni Kokiri include:

  • a refocus of TPK Regional Hubs to support whānau, hapu and iwi.
  • partnering with whānau, hapū, iwi and communities to give them the tools and resources they need to support a targeted response.
  • providing infrastructure and technology support to our communities. 
  • supporting Māori health providers to enable their clinical expertise to reach whānau Māori and communities and assist in assessing the psychosocial needs within the community and co-ordinate with necessary tikanga related support.

 Māori Health and Whānau Ora response

Peeni Henare says $30 million will be targeted directly to Māori Health services.   

“To protect our people, especially our kaumātua and kuia, we can’t solely rely on them engaging with the health system, but instead we must engage with our people, in their neighbourhoods, communities and homes.

“That is why we are providing targeted funding to those that know how to serve our people best: Our Māori health providers, our Whānau Ora agencies and iwi.

“We are also redirecting an extra $15 million to Whānau Ora commissioning agencies. They can reach into our communities and help our most vulnerable whānau” Peeni Henare said.

The Māori Health funding includes: 

  • Provide financial support for Māori provider networks to enable them to meet increased demand;
  • Support backfilling and additional workforce capacity arrangements for Māori providers;
  • Develop guidelines to help Māori prepare for self-isolation, particularly when self-isolating as part of a large family group;
  • Provide financial support for whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities – payment for prescriptions, health services etc;
  • Kuia and koroua support – in-home care continuity to keep kaumatua healthy and well (e.g. food parcels, resources, medications);
  • Ensuring actions are supported by tailored Māori communications through appropriate and trusted channels expanding reach and coverage of communications;
  • Build-in to the telehealth service a call-back mechanism to ensure all Māori whānau, hapū, and iwi are receiving timely health advice;
  • Provide funding for Māori-led, Māori-specific vaccination programme to address equity issues, including a targeted health promotion campaign;
  • Support the workforce of Whanau Ora Commissioning Agencies to respond to the increase demand as a result of COVID-19;
  • Activate and establish Community Based Assessment Centres in Māori communities.

 Supporting Māori Businesses and engaging with Māori
Minister of Tourism and Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Kelvin Davis says NZ Māori Tourism and the Federation of Māori Authorities are now working in partnership to provide support and guidance to struggling Māori businesses nationwide.

“Together an extra $1 million of funding will enable a needs assessment for Māori businesses, and following this a Māori business response plan will be produced and implemented,” Kelvin Davis said.

“Our team are already responding and assisting Māori businesses nationwide.

“This extra funding boost will give them more resource to help more people,” Kelvin Davis said.

Kelvin Davis says funding of $470,000 has also been reprioritised to Te Arawhiti to engage and work with iwi on their COVID-19 pandemic response plans.

“It’s great to see iwi around Aotearoa stepping up to support their communities with their own local pandemic response plans,” Kelvin Davis said.

“We’ve now enabled Te Arawhiti to utilise its engagement expertise to work with Māori on these plans.

“Together, our Government and iwi can help whānau protect their loved ones from the impacts of COVID-19,” Kelvin Davis said.

Redeploying our rangatahi

Employment Minister Willie Jackson says the Government’s employment and skills programme for young people, He Poutama Rangatahi, is well-placed to assist with the Māori response effort.

“Our programmes are run in four regions with high Māori populations and where we have some of our most disadvantaged communities,” Willie Jackson said.

“I have asked officials to vary the contracts for these programmes, to enable over 2000 young people to work alongside Māori health providers and Whānau Ora Navigators, to deliver important community and health services to Māori, particularly our kuia, kaumatua and those already isolated,” Willie Jackson said.

Peeni Henare says this tailored package will provide the additional help needed to support Māori communities and businesses through COVID-19.

“My Māori ministerial colleagues and I know we must act now to protect our people, particularly our kaumātua and those who already have significant health issues,” Peeni Henare said.

“Times like these can be incredibly stressful so it’s important that we make manaakitanga and kōtahitanga the centre of our response.

“Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi – through collective contribution our communities can stay safe and healthy,” Peeni Henare said.

MIL OSI