COMMENT:

What an inspiring few weeks it has been in Whanganui.

Recently Associate Minister for Social Development Hon. Peeni Henare and I visited the Tamaūpoko Community LED Trust to talk about thriving river communities.

Following that hui, we attended the River Valley Centre launch, where kōrero focused on marae and hapū economic developments on the Whanganui Awa.

Advertisement

Awesome organisations are making a real difference in Te Tai Hauāuru.

This year's Wellbeing Budget will also create positive change within our community, as the recent pre-Budget announcements have shown.

This Government is tackling the long-term challenges facing Aotearoa. Here in Whanganui, one of those challenges is undoubtedly family and sexual violence.

That's why we're breaking the cycle, by announcing the largest ever investment in family and sexual violence services in Aotearoa.

During his visit to Whanganui, Henare and I also visited RISE. This dedicated team create safer homes, by providing non-violence programmes for local men, women and rangatahi who use violence within their families.

They highlighted the need for more delivery support, and I believe they will feel uplifted by this ground-breaking investment from the Wellbeing Budget.

Investment that includes support for a dedicated kaupapa Māori response to sexual violence, 24/7 support services, and landmark amendments to our court processes so they do better by victims.

I was glad to see that taking action against violence was explored recently by rangatahi at Whanganui Collegiate, via the Loves-Me-Not programme.

Advertisement

This highlights that we all have a role to play in ensuring our kids grow up surrounded by aroha, in a "violence-free" Te Tai Hauāuru.

Our new kaupapa-Māori-based pathway for Māori high-security prisoners is another Budget 2019 announcement focused on system change and reducing the high rate of reoffending for Māori.

A pathway co-designed by iwi, which offers whānau-centred support for a prisoner's entire Corrections journey - from pre-sentence right through to reintegrating back into their community.

We're also easing costs on Whanganui families by scrapping NCEA fees.

I encourage all local educators to apply for Te Ahu o te Reo Māori, this Government's new kura reo-style learning programme to increase the correct use of te reo in our education system. Register online now at education.govt.nz

Halfway through our first term, I am proud of what this Government is delivering for Māori. I look forward to sharing more Wellbeing Budget benefits for Whanganui after Budget 2019 is delivered on May 30.

Advertisement

Adrian Rurawhe is MP for Te Tai Hauāuru.