Coronavirus: $56 million package aimed at helping Māori unveiled

The Government has unveiled a $56 million package to help Māori through the coronavirus pandemic.

While only 52 people in New Zealand have been confirmed infected with the virus, there have been more than 303,000 cases worldwide and nearly 13,000 deaths. 

The Government last week announced a massive package to help fight the disease and support affected workers and industries.

"Our Government’s $12.1 billion economic package will help many Māori whānau, workers and businesses, whether it's through wage subsidies, income support and worker redeployment, or the $500 million fund to strengthen our fight against COVID-19, and ensure health services are there for those who need them the most,"  Associate Health and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare said on Sunday.

 "But as Māori Ministers we know there are specific challenges for Māori that require a specific response."

In Sunday's announcement is:

  • $10 million reprioritised from Vote Māori Development for 'community outreach'
  • $30 million for Māori health services
  • $15 million for Whanau Ora
  • $1 million to provide Māori business with advice and planning
  • $470,000 for Te Arawhiti "to engage and work with iwi on their COVID-19 pandemic response plans" (Te Arawhiti is a Crown agency "dedicated to fostering strong, ongoing and effective relationships with Māori across Government).

"My Māori ministerial colleagues and I know we must act now to protect our people, particularly our kaumātua and those who already have significant health issues," Henare said.

"Times like these can be incredibly stressful so it's important that we make manaakitanga and kōtahitanga the centre of our response."

"Together, our Government and iwi can help whānau protect their loved ones from the impacts of COVID-19," Minister of Tourism and Māori Crown Relations Kelvin Davis said.

Watch Peeni Henare's emotional interview with The Hui.