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“Before we have a lolly scramble, focus on what matters to our communities.” Te Rito Journalism cadets on Wellbeing Budget 2022

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
(L-R) Te Rito Journalism Cadets Arohanui West and Oriwa Aitkens
Waimanea Nuri | Te Rito Journalism Cadet

Reconnecting youth, health care, mental health and wellbeing support, reducing food and fuel prices and climate change are key areas Oriwa Atkins and Arohanui West would like the Wellbeing Budget 2022 to reflect.

The Te Rito Journalism cadets share their perspectives on the government’s fourth budget  announced in Parliament yesterday. 

Oriwa who hails from Ngāti Porou says she has discovered that the outcomes from Wellbeing Budget 2022 can either help or hinder the communities.  

The 20 year old says, “before we have a ‘lolly scramble’, we need to focus on the things that really matter to our communities, reducing food and fuel prices, creating a safer space for our health providers and focus on the low decile places who need much more support.

The government gives money to those who need it but for those who desperately need it, rarely receives it,” adds Oriwa.

Arohanui West applies her cultural skills and knowledge to understand the significance of the Wellness Budget 2020 in Aotearoa/New Zealand. 

“I am no expert but I do understand that the government allocates money to different kaupapa, like mental health, education and climate change”. 

She says we need to allocate more funding towards “Green jobs” such as climate change Iwi based initiatives to help fight and reduce the effects on our country. 

Arohanui emphasises that Te Āo Māori (Māori view) and Tikanga Māori (Māori customs) provide an opportunity to understand how we as a collective can adapt and thrive with climate variability. 

“Regardless if you are tangata whenua or tangata tiriti, everything we do that benefits our tāiāo, benefits one another”.

She says we need more support with youth mental health, suicide prevention, Māori and Pasifika mental health, mens mental health and climate change.  

“Back home in Rotorua, our local Rūnanga (health providers) lead amazing workshops to re-connect our youth to nature for better mental health outcomes.

These projects and Iwi initiatives can only run on pūtea (money), they can’t run on the smell of old oily rags”, says Arohanui.

She acknowledges that paying attention to the Wellness Budget for Aotearoa/New Zealand, helps young people understand the importance of government fundings towards kaupapa, like mental health, education and climate change. 

“This will help young people understand and figure out who to vote for in regards to what you think is best for our country.”

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