INDEPENDENT NEWS

Budget Announcements To Benefit Manukau

Published: Mon 28 May 2001 11:35 AM
Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis has welcomed the social spending initiatives announced in the Budget. He says they help tackle long-standing social problems and will improve the quality of life for many people in low income communities.
“I also applaud the Government for a balanced and financially responsible Budget. All units of government have an obligation to make spending plans which fit within their income, and that is a key principle governing our decision-making at Manukau City Council,” Sir Barry said.
In addition to general spending, much of the Government’s social spending over the next year will be focused on the Auckland region and in particular Counties Manukau, which is seen as an area of need.
The targeted intiatives include:
- $2.8 million for Pacific health providers
- $350,000 for migrant settlement services
- an extra $19.5 million to build 125 more Community Houses over four years, and extend rent relief to tenants
- $110 million extra to upgrade 9000 current state houses, and build 300 new houses
- A $500,000 funding boost for the Pacific Business Trust for spending on Pacific businesses focusing on design, fashion and arts
- Extra funding for Maori capacity building and to promote Maori business ventures
Sir Barry said “These moves will be a great boost to our Maori and Pacific communities, and it is the kind of assistance we as a Council have been strongly advocating for over a long period. I am glad the Government is taking action.
“But I also expect many local businesses will benefit from the economic development measures announced in the Budget, such as the extra $100 million dollars being put into the seed capital investment fund.
“Businesses will be able to apply to the fund for help getting their venture off the ground, or to help get the boost needed to begin exporting.”
The NZ Venture Investment Fund is being launched to finance business start-ups, in partnership with private sector venture capital. The Government’s also announced an extra $56 million over the next four years to buy an estimated 17,400 additional industry training places.
Sir Barry said this will mean more young people getting the chance to do on- the-job training, and will ease the skills shortage which is a big problem in Manukau.
“The vacancies are there, but they’re going begging. Many local employers simply cannot get the skilled workers they need, but this extra funding will do a lot to ease that situation. It will also contribute to the upskilling of the workforce overall. That is a key aim as part of the City’s new strategy for building a Knowledge Society, which will raise the standard of living for us all,”
“Other spending plans in the Budget will also contribute to the progress of the City, such as the building of two new prisons, which will inject a large amount of money into the regional economy. I congratulate Finance Minister Michael Cullen on a balanced and progressive Budget,” Sir Barry said.
Ends

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