Right from our first 100 days, this Government has delivered a better standard of living for whānau.
With our Families Package starting 1 July, $1.2 billion will be directly invested into the wellbeing of tangata Māori over four years. This will improve lives for all Kiwis from mokopuna through to kaumātua.
The package includes a Winter Energy Payment, Best Start tax credit, as well as changes to the Accommodation Supplement and Working for Families tax credits.
These initiatives reinforce our commitment to reducing child poverty by targeting the
181,000 children living in low income households — Over 60,000 of which are tamariki Māori.
Whānau on modest incomes, forced to do more with less for far too long, will get a much needed boost from the increase to the rates and threshold of the Working for Families tax credit. The minimum family tax credit will increase from $458 to $503 per week, which means an additional $443 million to Māori whānau.
As we head into the cold months ahead, our Winter Energy Payments are timely, ensuring our kaumātua and many of our most vulnerable whānau can afford to heat their homes.
Around 143,000 kaumātua and Māori on main benefits will receive up to $20-$30 per week from July through to September as part of this long overdue initiative. Next year this payment will start from May. Winter Energy Payments will invest $274 million into heating Māori homes.
Our Best Start tax credit is another great addition to the Families Package, helping whanau with costs in a child's early years.
Available to all families in baby's first year, Best Start's invaluable support will continue for baby's second and third years for low and middle income whānau. Lifting the financial burden for Kiwi parents of children born, or due to be born, on or after 1 July 2018, Best
Start will give up to $3,120 per year (or $60 per week) towards ensuring tamariki have the best possible start in life. You don't need to do anything to get any additional payments from the Families Package — if you qualify, it'll be paid to you automatically.
These payments continue from increases already made to the Accommodation Supplement in April giving $265 million to over 83,000 Māori whānau.
Our Families Package recognises the key role of whānau, and will improve the quality of life for our tamariki.
I am proud of this Government's commitment to restoring manaakitanga and building a strong foundation for the future for Māori.
Nanaia Mahuta is MP for the Hauraki-Waikato electorate and the Minister for Local Government and Maori Development, and associate Minister for the Environment.