A $136 million boost to whānau ora to help Māori recover from COVID-19 is welcomed but specific funding for Māori and public health initiatives is unclear, says Hāpai Te Hauora chief executive Selah Hart.

There’s also extra money for the disability support sector but there’s nothing specific about preventative, public or Māori health, says Ms Hart who heads the Māori Public Health agency.

“I don’t want to err on the side of disappointment, as there is a huge amount that has gone into Māori-specific (funding) and obviously a big investment in health. But where is the definitive amount that is going to come to Māori health that is really going to make a difference for our people?"

An extra $11 million for NGO services would also be cut up many ways across social and mental health services.

Ms Hart hopes for more detail when the next download of information comes out.

"Obviously we are really excited and ecstatic really about the $136 million going into whānau ora that is probably one of the biggest areas where we know that will have knock-on effects of increased health and wellbeing of our communities."

"But it is a bit of a letdown that we’re in the midst of a public health crisis right now – you'd think there would be some kind of mention or drill-down that really demonstrated the importance (of public health)."

She adds though that as a health system the focus is on the big picture at the moment and she holds out hope for more clarity in the future.

“As well as the holdback of COVID-19 recovery money I’m hoping that might have some specific and tangible outcomes for Māori health.”

Source: NZ Doctor - Budget 2020: Whānau Ora boost welcomed but specific funding detail lacking – Selah Hart