The Māori Party says it is a "kick in the guts" that Whānau Ora has been overlooked in today's Budget.

"That goes against the promise that Labour made to voters last year to put $20 million into Whānau Ora over four years," Māori Party president Che Wilson said.

"That's an issue of integrity. That's a policy that Labour itself put up – they are the majority party in Government so there's really no excuse to renege. It's also a bit of a kick in the guts," he said.

"We've got more Māori MPs in government than ever before, but the Labour Party still won't back whānau or communities to lead their own development".


Whānau Ora is a cross-government work programme that places families/whānau at the centre of services focused on health and wellbeing. It was a cornerstone of the coalition agreement between National and the Māori Party in 2008.

Former Whānau Ora Minister Dame Tariana Turia said it showed the election pledge was just empty words. "I was always told 'your word is your honour'," she said.

Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, chairwoman of Te Pou Matakana, Whānau Ora's commissioning agency, called it a Budget of broken promises.

"This Government has given us a Budget of broken promises and this is disappointing. Its commitment to whānau, made in 2017, seems to have been forgotten, despite there being a large proportion of Māori MPs and Māori Cabinet ministers," she said.

Te Pou Matakana worked with more than 80 Whānau Ora providers across the North Island that supported more than 9000 whānau every year.

Maori-focused initiatives do not feature heavily in the Budget. They include:

•$15 million of operating funding over four years to enhance education and employment outcomes for rangatahi, especially young people not in education, employment or training (Neets), including Māori Wardens initiatives.

•$15m over four years to provide practical assistance and resources to whānau and Māori housing providers to support papakāinga development and housing repairs through the Māori Housing Network


•$7m in 2018/19 for whenua Māori reforms to improve the administration of Māori freehold land, assist with the development of Māori whenua generally and improve governance capacity

•$1m over 2018/19 to improve educational achievements for Māori students

•$3.05m over 2018/19 for Crown/Māori relations

•$2.2m over 2018/19 to trial new approaches for tamariki at family group conferences

•$11.5m over two years for the determination of interests and implementation of the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011.

•$2.3m over 2018/19 for relativity mechanism dispute resolution


"We want Māori to succeed as Māori. We want to see uplift for Māori in all areas of social and economic development," said Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

"As we make significant investments to strengthen the foundations of our critical public services and infrastructure, we are also investing in building our communities and the futures of our rangatahi," she said.

Employment Minister Willie Jackson said there were around 84,000 Neets in New Zealand.
"It is important to invest in them now to give them the best chance to succeed. They are a vital part of our future," he said.

"Over the last few months, parts of our labour market have declared skills shortages across the country. We have been listening to industries like building and construction, roading and farming who are concerned about the future workforce.

"Our earlier investment in employment outcomes for rangatahi Neets was focused on our struggling regions. Now we need to ensure that our urban centres are being catered for as well," Jackson said.