Plenty to look forward to as we approach Budget 2022





We’re just around the corner from Budget 2022 on May 19, and Finance Minister Grant Robertson has already made several announcements, with more to come. One of these was made here in our Mana electorate, with Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti. To support schools post the initial lockdowns in 2020/2021, an Urgent Response Fund was accessible for our schools. The announcement of funding last week by ministers seeks to support students re-engagement with their learning, by supporting changes to the system and more targeted investment to make schools a place where all young people want to be, where they can access the support they need and where there are ways back into learning for those who have disengaged. The funding includes: ■ $40m to establish the Regional Response Fund. ■ $11.2m for a refresh and enhancement of the Positive Behaviour for Learning School-Wide delivery that helps schools build a culture where positive behaviour and learning is a way of life. ■ $7.75m for intensive support for Ma¯ ori and Pacific learners at risk. ■ $6m for the continuing transformation of attendance services to better meet learner need. ■ $15.5m to scale-up Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu’s support for reengaging at-risk learners. We are gearing up to spend more on health and tackling climate change over the next year. The Budget will also see us introduce a borrowing limit as the pandemic and its effects continue to cause economic shocks around the world including rising inflation rates and an increasing cost of living. Robertson has announced the new debt ceiling to be 30 per cent of GDP under the new system. This will be an important tool as we look to post-pandemic recovery. Another important tool in supporting wha¯ nau across Aotearoa is the Winter Energy Payment, which began on May 1. This payment will help more than a million Kiwis with the cost of heating their homes. e’re taking a range of actions, including measures like cutting fuel tax, increasing Working for Families, and rolling out free lunches in schools, to help people with the cost of living. There’s heaps happening at the moment in the halls of Parliament so it’s great to have another incredible Pasifika wa¯ hine on board our team. Our 11th Pasifika MP, Lemauga Lydia Sosene, has now been sworn in and delivered her maiden speech. We’re making history, in having our largest Labour Pa¯sifika Caucus ever. — Barbara Edmonds