Calls for more than handouts for Māori

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Development minister Shane Jones have preceded Waitangi Day celebrations with announcements of hundreds of millions of dollars in development grants, but this approach has been questioned and in some cases slammed – see National leader Simon Bridges urges RMA reform over $100m for Māori land ownership

NZ Herald editorial: Handouts are no substitute for a Ngapuhi Treaty settlement

The Prime Minister is doling out a great deal of money on her extended visit to Northland for Waitangi Day.

At a Kaipara marae on Sunday she announced $100 million of the Government’s $1 billion provincial growth fund will be set aside as capital for Māori developments.

Yesterday at Mangatoa Station near Kaikohe she announced $82m from the fund will be used to set up regional training and employment “hubs”, and a further $20m from the fund will go to establishing regional digital “hubs” to help small towns and marae get internet connections.

In two days, with Regional Development Minister Shane Jones at her elbow, they have committed about a fifth of the original fund which is already depleted by some grants of dubious value he made last year.

While the projects announced at the weekend will be spread around a number of regions Northland is one of the most needy, which is why successive governments have been working so hard to try to help Ngapuhi get organised for a Treaty settlement.

After a year of trying, Justice Minister Andrew Little seems to be no closer than previous ministers came to finding a bargaining partner all Ngapuhi hapu will accept.

Now the Government seems to be giving handouts instead.

The Government may be right that Māori land is the underdeveloped asset that can provide those parts with more wealth. But providing seed capital is the easy part. It has to do much more to ensure the seedlings are not mulched.

Sam Sachdeva (Newsroom):  Ardern’s Waitangi sequel a test of relationship

Heading to what has traditionally been a tempestuous occasion for prime ministers, Jacinda Ardern’s Waitangi debut in 2018 went about as well as she could have hoped.

While Waitangi Day organising committee chairman Pita Paraone believes Ardern will receive a similar reception this year, he suggests there may be “a bit of murmuring” from Māori over some areas of discontent.

There has always been murmurings of discontent at Waitangi.

Matthew Tukaki, chairman of the National Māori Authority, agrees there will be plenty of expectation from Māori for the Government to deliver on its many promises.

“We’ve had a year of inquiries, we’ve had a year of investigations … 2019 for this Government must be the year of action.”

Many of the issues prioritised by Māori are the same as for the wider population: Paraone mentions mental health and housing, while Tukaki talks about high suicide and unemployment rates.

Tukaki says there is value in “universal principles that guide your waka”, but argues that is not enough: it must be supported by targeted reform and policies to succeed.

Solutions will not come in the form of short-term fixes, he says, but a longer-term vision that can be sustained over years or decades.

The handouts look to be more short term political fixes, or attempted fixes, but fundamental problems remain.

“For too long, government agencies and offices and ministries have been working on solutions and then saying to Māori, ‘Here’s a solution to whatever problem’,” (Labour MP and deputy Prime Minister) Kelvin Davis says.

Like “here’s some money”.

“Really what we need to say is, here’s a problem, how do we work on a solution together so it actually meets the needs of the people who we’re working for?”

There is a lot of work to do there, more than meeting a next year holding to account deadline that Ardern seems to be trying to address.

Māori will be looking to the future too, and whether Ardern’s government can deliver on its promises: perhaps with an added degree of wariness, but also hope.

They will be hoping for more from Ardern and her Government.


Leave a comment


  1. adamsmith1922

     /  5th February 2019

    This is ‘spray and walk away’ from the government – a questionable use of Provincial growth Fund money. Successive governments have poured millions into Maori development to little or no avail. Urban and rural Maori suffer, but iwi elite do well, as does coetir of lawyers from the Treaty gravy train.
    Interestingly, if James Shaw’s plans for carbon zero, a nonsense mantra in reality, take effect the size of the economy will be materially reduced and the economic wellbeing of Maori especially will be negatively impacted, possibly to a large extent.

  2. Griff.

     /  5th February 2019

    Hand outs with no thought of quantifying the benefits and no monitoring the actual processes.
    What could possibly go wrong?

    As to Maori land.
    The problem has always been as soon an any maori does any work the rest of the bros want a share of the profits. Any effort ends up stolen by the rest of the tribe taking a free ride.

  3. Finbaar Rustle

     /  5th February 2019

    The Gov’t should not provide training they should provide jobs.
    From 2020 the Government should guarantee any one over 18 a full time job.
    200,000 new jobs paying a minimum of $400 p/w from Jan 1st 2019.
    All this training money will fail to address the real issue …jobs.
    Education provides unemployed Pakeha
    with jobs to train Maori for non existent jobs.
    Now Maori will get money to train Maori for non existent jobs.
    Young Maori girls will avoid the training fraud by continuing to get pregnant.
    The fathers do not have the easy way out and are stuck on $150 a week training.allowance.
    Most drift into “Maori employment pathway” of drugs, crime, prison mental health and become sickness beneficiaries playing video games smoking dope and gangsta rap.
    It would be far better to forget the training bush#t and just
    pay everyone a living wage and share the work.
    But successive Govt’s prefer unemployment because Ironically unemployment
    in all it’s various guises has become the biggest employer in this country.
    With out Maori unemployment 100,000 Pakeha would become unemployed too.
    But now they have jobs as educators, Prison staff, hospital workers and in social services.
    So to keep Pakeha voters happy high Maori unemployment remains
    an essential component of the NZ business model.
    Do not expect change any time soon.

  4. Blazer

     /  5th February 2019

    ‘Calls for more handouts for…Consultants’.

  5. David

     /  5th February 2019

    Far easier to throw taxpayers money around than actually put the stick about and show its unacceptable to waste the whole of your life rotting dependent on the state, what a sad useless waste of an existence.
    Point out that the colossal amount of Maori children born without the support through their childhood of two parents means their children are likely to have negative life outcomes and we are getting generations into this problem.

    • Duker

       /  5th February 2019

      “without the support through their childhood of two parents means their children are likely to have negative life outcomes”……. well we used to support solo mums with a state house …like when John Key was bought up in solo parent family… for some reason he didnt think THAT was a priority any more

  6. Gezza

     /  5th February 2019

    Bit of a train wreck of a phone interview with Jacinda Ardern by Susie Fergusson this morning, I think. I only heard the end of it, there seemed to be a lof waffling as Jacinda didn’t have any numbers, but Susie did seem to be rushing things & one maybe couldn’t realistically expect Jacinda to have any numbers (like how many jobs created by the PGF handouts, & how many kids lifted out of povidy so far).

    Gonna have a listen after I post this. Wondering if Susie possibly has it in for Jacinda.


Leave a Reply to Blazer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: