Pacific Health Services gets $76 million boost

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Pacific Health Services in New Zealand received a $76 million boost in this year’s budget.

Photo: Unsplash / Hush Naidoo Jade

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the cash injection would be used to support Pacific healthcare providers, improve infrastructure, fund a targeted diabetes prevention and management program and prepare for reform of the system.

Operating funds of up to $47 million were also announced for education and employment initiatives in the Pacific.

The funds would be used to support science, technology, engineering, arts and math opportunities in the Pacific, Robertson said.

An initial amount of $49 million has been set aside for the construction of 300 homes for Pacific Islanders in eastern Porirua over the next decade.

The government’s pledge to deliver a historic account of the Dawn Raids – a crackdown on mainly Pacific migrants to New Zealand in the 1970s – is getting $13.7 million in funding.

Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio said the priorities for this year’s budget are in line with his strategy for well-being in the Pacific.

“This strategy aims to improve the well-being and aspirations of the Pacific in the areas of health, housing, education, business, employment, income, leadership, Pacific arts, sports, music and STEAM careers,” he said.

Dawn Raids account, house building project included in the Pacific package

Included in the New Zealand Pacific Community Budget:

– A package to build up to 300 homes over the next 10 years for Pacific families in Eastern Porirua, with initial funding of $49 million over the forecast period.

– $13.7 million to implement the government’s commitment to provide a historical account of the Dawn Raids.

-$49.9 million for the Pacific Provider Development Fund, to help Pacific providers adapt their models of care to the new health system.

-$20 million to implement a diabetes prevention and treatment program for targeted Pacific communities in South Auckland.

-Increase of $8 million to continue the delivery of Tupu Aotearoa, which enables the delivery of customized employment and training services in the Pacific.

– $15.5 million investment in Pacific Economic Development, which aims to meet community demand for services to support ‘start-up’ Pacific businesses and social enterprises across New Zealand.

-$1.6 million to maintain the Pacific Work Connect program which supports the continuation of a support service for Pacific migrants.

– $18.3 million increase to Toloa’s science, technology, education, arts and math program. This initiative provides opportunities through the journeys of Pacific peoples through education and employment.

-$2 million to maintain and expand the Tulī Takes Flight and Pacific Education Foundation Scholarships, Pacific Scholarships to address inequities in the education system.

-$13 million to support the growth of the Pacific bilingual and immersion school workforce and the retention of the current workforce.

-Up to $5 million in redesigned funding over four years to further fund Professional Learning and Development (PLD) focused on Tapasā: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Pacific Learners.

Chief Ben Lovo and his family from Bongkil village in Erromango, Vanuatu.  He says RNZI's shortwave broadcasts during Cyclone Pam enabled him to warn four villages.

Chief Ben Lovo and his family from Bongkil village in Erromango, Vanuatu. RNZ Pacific’s shortwave broadcasts during Cyclone Pam in 2015 enabled it to warn four villages and save hundreds of lives.
Photo: RNZI/Koroi Hawkins

New transmitter for RNZ Pacific

The government also announced $4.4 million for RNZ Pacific to purchase a new transmitter to broadcast news across the Pacific.

Described as “critical infrastructure”, the transmitter is part of plans for a new public media entity which is due to start operating next year.

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said funding from the media entity would allow New Zealanders to continue to access quality local content and trusted news.

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