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By Sela Jane Hopgood, RNZ Pacific journalist

In the New Zealand 2021 Budget, a big investment of NZ$108 million has been signalled to support the wellbeing of the Pacific population through the rebuild and recovery from the covid-19 pandemic.

Pacific Peoples Minister ‘Aupito William Sio said this was a significant investment for Pacific communities who have been hard-hit by the pandemic in the past year.

“With the Pacific Aotearoa Lalanga Fou Goals as a guide, the Pacific package puts a strong focus on Pacific wellbeing and continues the government’s commitment to ensuring that Pacific peoples are leading this work to achieve confident, thriving, prosperous and resilient communities,” he said.

“Budget 2021 makes this possible through tailored business, health and education initiatives that bolster the vital holistic work Pacific communities are already doing across the country.”

The $108 million Pacific package is made up of the following:

  • $99.6 million new operating funding
  • $660,000 new capital funding from the Budget 2021 allowances and the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF).
  • $7.8 million in operating funding is repurposed from existing funding in Vote Education.
Pacific Peoples Minister 'Aupito William Sio
Pacific Peoples Minister ‘Aupito William Sio … initiatives that bolster the vital holistic work Pacific communities. Image: Samuel Rillstone/RNZ

The package includes:

  • $30.3 million boost to assist the Tupu Aotearoa programme to support approximately 7500 Pacific peoples into employment, training, and education across Aotearoa New Zealand, funded from the CRRF.
  • Investing $6.6 million to support establishing the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy – a cross-government initiative that will develop ways to measure Pacific wellbeing across government work programmes and initiatives.
  • Supporting Pacific businesses through the impacts of covid-19 with $16.2 million for business support services, funded from the CRRF.
  • $20.8 million supporting Pacific bilingual and immersion education in the schooling system, made up of $12.4 million of new operating funding and $644,000 of new capital funding from Budget 2021 allowances, with $7.8 million of repurposed funding from Vote Education.
  • $5 million operating funding and $16,000 capital funding to deliver sustained professional learning and development to embed Tapasā as a tool to address social inclusion in the education sector.
  • $5.1 million for the development of two new Pacific language subjects, gagana Tokelau and vagahau Niue as NCEA Achievement Standards subjects.
Lynfield College on the Niue stage at Polyfest 2021
Lynfield College on the Niue stage at Polyfest 2021 … Budget funding for development of two new NCEA Pacific languages, gagana Tokelau and vagahau Niue. Image: Mabel Muller/RNZ

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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