Oranga Tangata | Whānau First

Whānau First 

Executive Summary 

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted major racism and inequity that impacts on wellbeing and the ability to feed our whānau. 

The evidence for this across the whole of government is best identified by our unemployment status in our own country. We cannot tolerate a post-COVID environment that makes our whānau lives worse than they were pre-COVID. 

There was no government Māori pandemic response plan. Māori leadership across the country stood up and filled this gap, led out by hapū, iwi and Whānau Ora Collectives up and down the country. Our own mana motuhake systems proved themselves. 

Māori as tangata whenua demand that our right to equality and equity be applied in all post-COVID recovery programming. 

Māori must be guaranteed resources for Māori recovery, we cannot go backwards to how we were living pre-COVID - that is not an option for our whānau. 

The Māori Party will: 

  • Confirm that all government funding for projects over the next two years guarantee 25% Māori direct resourcing combining the delivery of a Māori workforce and the services of owned businesses and organisations. 
  • Confirm that 25% of all projects will be Māori-led recovery projects and business recovery initiatives that partner with hapū, iwi and Māori organisations and Māori-led businesses. 
  • Guarantee that 25% of all government projects that are prioritised through the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) legislation partner with hapū, iwi and Māori organisations and businesses. 
  • Emphasise that all COVID-19 recovery bodies reflect the Te Tiriti relationship in their structure and membership. 
  • Reinforce that COVID-19 recovery projects must enhance the mana o te whenua, the mana o te wai, mana o te moana and protect wāhi tapu, rights and interests of natural environment. 

Solution 

Whānau First approach to COVID-19 recovery 

If we are to ensure the COVID-19 recovery period improves the situation for our people rather than worsens it, then it’s essential that we stop government’s systemic racism and put in place policies that put our Whānau First. 

Oranga Tangata – Mahi 

We assert that all government funding over the next two years must guarantee 25% direct resourcing towards the Māori workforce and Māori businesses and services. 

Further, government projects which use the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) legislation must include 25% Māori participation in “shovel ready” projects which will be allowed to occur, without standard RMA consenting

Iwi/Māori Build 

Providing Whānau housing is a priority and will be included in our Iwi Build policy, which will include the removal of legal barriers to build on papakāinga and increase the building partnerships amongst Māori, hapū and whānau collectives. 

To achieve this, 25% of the total government housing budget will be allocated towards Māori and include Māori trade trainees and Māori owned businesses, providers and services. 

We will guarantee all Iwi Build will be Māori-led. 

We will also guarantee 25% of all government funding allocated towards environmentally friendly housing initiatives will be distributed to Iwi Build homes and Māori led housing projects, to help lower whānau household costs. 

Precedent 

Our Whānau First approach is modelled off highly successful examples of affirmative action programmes in the USA and Australia that have made huge strides in reducing disadvantage in African American and Aboriginal communities. The following requirements under-line our Whānau First policy: 

  • Firstly, the plan must have some form of timeline. 
  • Secondly, the evidence requiring the policy must show government past failures and that Whānau First will improve our whānau lives. 
  • Thirdly, no person can, will or should be laid off to implement the policy. 
  • Lastly, the ongoing monitoring of the whānau transformation must be kept using a whānau cultural impact assessment. 

This approach will ensure that the pandemic recovery period is used to reduce racism against Māori and stop disadvantaging the wellbeing of our whānau rather than widen and deepen it even further. The plan will be a game changer for Māori advancement and will have significant positive flow-on effects for our whānau recovery. 

In summary, the Māori Party will; 

  • Confirm that all government funding for projects over the next two years guarantee 25% Māori direct resourcing - combining the delivery of a Māori workforce and the services of owned businesses and organisations. 
  • Confirm that 25% of all projects will be Māori-led recovery projects and business recovery initiatives - that partner with hapū, iwi and Māori organisations and Māori lead businesses. 
  • Guarantee that 25% of all government projects that are prioritised through the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) legislation - partner with hapū, iwi and Māori organisations and businesses. 
  • Emphasise that all COVID-19 recovery bodies reflect the Te Tiriti relationship in their structure and membership. 
  • Reinforce that COVID 19 recovery projects must enhance the mana o te whenua, the mana o te wai, mana o te moana and protect wāhi tapu, rights and interests of natural environment. 

 

Implementing Te Tiriti relationships in the COVID-19 recovery 

The COVID-19 recovery period presents us with an opportunity to strengthen our Māori-Crown relationships under Te Tiriti. Not only is this policy founded on the Te Tiriti relationship, it is also legislatively supported by the Bill of Rights Act, and the Human Rights Act. 

Alongside our Whānau First approach to government funding in the COVID-19 recovery period, the Māori Party also reaffirms the Crown must honour its Te Tiriti relationships with hapū and iwi Māori in the governance and management of the recovery. 

Official recovery bodies, such as panels and project governance groups, must include the Te Tiriti relationship in their structure and membership. This means guaranteed mana whenua representation in local and regional projects, and guaranteed Māori representation at a national level. 

The large-scale infrastructure projects that are selected by the government must environmentally respectful approved by relevant mana whenua groups to ensure that they do not adversely impact on whenua Māori, te mana o te wai, mana moana or wāhi tapu interests, as so many of the infrastructure projects in our history have done. 

In summary, the Māori Party will; 

  • Guarantee all COVID-19 recovery bodies reflect the Te Tiriti relationship in their structure and membership 
  • Assert the statutory obligations of local, regional, and central government to work alongside hapū and iwi and to honour their Te Tiriti commitments 
  • States the govt must act environmentally respectful to mana whenua groups to ensure that they do not adversely impact on whenua Māori , te mana o te wai, mana moana or wāhi tapu, rights and interests. 

 

Context 

While there were response plans prepared by national, regional and local governments in the event of a pandemic, once COVID-19 arrived it became very clear that the Crown had not developed a Māori-specific response plan in preparation for a pandemic at any of these levels. As we so often are, our people were overlooked

It was only through the strong lobbying and campaigning of hapū, iwi and urban Māori leaders that the Crown eventually started working alongside our people to develop response plans and invested a small amount of targeted funding to support this. 

However, despite being under resourced and overstretched, our iwi and urban Māori organisations stepped up in a huge way to care for our people during this period. From organising kai packs for kaumātua and vulnerable whānau, to fighting for increased testing in our communities, to setting up checkpoints to monitor and limit interregional travel and putting in place tikanga for restricted tangihanga – we did everything we could to protect our whakapapa and look after each other. 

As we enter the recovery period and turn our focus to economic resilience, employment and social hardship, we know that our people will continue to lead 

our own solutions as we have always done. But unlike what happened with the health response, we need a plan in place from the start that is supported and resourced by the Crown, so that the recovery grows our Māori economic base, not diminishes it. 

There have been projections that unemployment will likely reach record highs, and so we could see Māori unemployment rate as high as 25% - 35%. This will drive our people into even deeper poverty and hardship than we have experienced in many decades. 

To deal with this in a way that doesn’t just tread water but actually addresses the systemic drivers of Māori unemployment and poverty, then we need policies that obligate government and the private sector to employ Māori, and that ensure we have a voice at the decision-making table. 

After it was elected in 1999, the Clark government advanced a programme called Closing the Gaps, which was modelled off affirmative action programmes overseas. This policy looked at identifying, across the whole of state, where and why Māori were lagging behind. Once this audit was achieved, funds and policy would be directed to Māori to close the gap. 

Once this policy was announced it was attacked by the National Party and by Winston Peters, who in 2000 described the program as "social apartheid". Clark quickly abandoned the justice in the programme to appease the politics of the situation. 

The pandemic recovery period gives us an opportunity to reimagine and restructure our economy in a way that works for Māori and disadvantaged communities. However, the Crown’s RMA reforms that undermine our Te Tiriti rights to environmental decision-making show that the opposite could also be true. 

The Government has spent $100bn to defend against the pandemic called COVID, and yet we still have not addressed the pandemic called racism. 

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