19 May, 2023
The Wellbeing Budget announced yesterday shows promise for mokopuna and their whānau but the new initiatives need to be closely monitored to ensure they will make a real difference to their lives, Children’s Commissioner Judge Frances Eivers says.
The Government announced yesterday a range of investments to support whānau with young children alongside a recovery package for those areas hit hardest by Cyclone Gabrielle, including targeted resource to school infrastructure and Mana Ake, student mental health support in Hawkes Bay and Tairāwhiti.
“It is pleasing to see the good intention behind this Budget, especially the commitment to put under-5s and their whānau first through boosts to the early childcare sector, a commitment to build more houses and assistance for heating and insulation in homes.
“Mokopuna are very clear when they tell us about their needs. Access to education and transport, and income and food for their whānau are often top of their list.
“These are issues addressed in this Budget through the extension of Ka Ora, Ka Ako school lunch programme and free public transport for children under 12 years. However, I would like to see these programmes cover all children of all ages at all schools across Aotearoa.
“Mokopuna Māori have told us how important their reo and culture is to them. I am excited to hear about the investment in Te Matatini and Māori medium schools as well as more investment in housing and holistic health services.
“I welcome further investment in Māori initiatives, but it is important that this resource is used in a way that is by Māori, for Māori.”
The Commissioner welcomes the investment in Te Aorerekura, an innovative plan to eliminate family and sexual violence.
“I applaud the funding of advocates for mokopuna who need to leave home due to violence, and specialists to support young people through Family Dispute Resolution processes. It is good to see a commitment to accessible family violence and sexual violence services for disabled people, and an emphasis on Kaupapa Māori specialist sexual violence services for whānau.
"Other initiatives in the budget that will truly make a difference to children and their whānau include investment in Pacific language and community development, transitional housing for rangatahi and school support for new refugees and migrants.
“I commend the Government for attempting to address the needs of whānau and mokopuna while we recover from the pandemic and Cyclone Gabrielle.
“We have a long way to go to solve structural inequities for Māori, Pacific and Whaikaha mokopuna. I will continue to monitor the results of this new spending to make sure it is making a difference.”
For media enquiries, please contact:
Melissa Wastney, Communications Advisor
Office of the Children’s Commissioner