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Pacific health services receive $76m boost

Thursday 19 May 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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Pacific health services receive $76m boost
Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Pacific health services in New Zealand have received a $76 million boost in this year's Budget.

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 $47m 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 $49m 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.

Dawn Raids account, home build project included in Pacific package

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.

- $13.7m to implement the Government's commitment to deliver a Dawn Raids historical account.

-$49.9m for the Pacific Provider Development Fund, to support Pacific providers to adapt their models of care into the new health system.

-$20m to implement a diabetes prevention and treatment programme for targeted Pacific communities in South Auckland.

-$8m boost to continue the delivery of Tupu Aotearoa, which enables the delivery of personalised Pacific employment and training services.

-$15.5m 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.

-$1.6m to maintain the Pacific Work Connect Programme which supports the continuation of a Pacific migrant support service.

-$18.3m boost to the Toloa Science, Technology, Education, Arts and Mathematics programme. This initiative provides opportunities across Pacific peoples journeys through education and employment.

-$2m to maintain and grow the Tulī Takes Flight and Pacific Education Foundation Scholarships, to Pacific education scholarships to address education system inequities.

-$13m to support the growth of the Pacific bilingual and immersion schooling workforce and the retention of the current workforce.

-Up to $5m of reprioritised funding over four years to fund further Professional Learning and Development (PLD) focussed on Tapasā: cultural competencies for teachers of Pacific learners.

Chief Ben Lovo and his family of Bongkil Village on Erromango, Vanuatu. He says shortwave broadcasts from RNZI during Cyclone Pam allowed him to warn four villages.
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. Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

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.