The Māori Party has been unwavering in the priorities it advocated in Budget 2012.
"The Minister of Finance was clear that this was a no-frills budget - and so it sharpened our resolve in standing up for the things that really matter.
Our intentions as signalled in the Relationship Accord were to see increased emphasis and investment in employment, housing, educational achievement and the wellbeing of our most vulnerable, including those on low incomes.
We know that times are tough for many of our whānau. The right thing to do in hard times is to embrace our most vulnerable in the korowai of care.
We are mapping out a pathway to protect our whānau in the rough times. Our focus is on prevention, on wellbeing, on connected outcomes.
We have been steadfast in our support for our most vulnerable. The $24m investment in addressing rheumatic fever has been one of our highest priorities. No child in New Zealand should suffer from third world diseases.
There is a clear link between adequate housing and good health. We have also negotiated an increase in warm and insulated homes, with the targeting of 20,000 low income homes to benefit from home insulation under the Warm Up New Zealand Heat Smart Programme. We are proud that in the last week we have been able to celebrate the opening of the 150,000th home insulated under this programme.
Affordable housing is also a key priority for the Māori Party recognised in the $104m appropriated for the Social Housing Fund.
"We recognise we have a long way to go in lifting the educational outcomes of our tamariki through demanding better performance from the educational system. We were clear that access and participation for Māori and Pasifika children to early childhood education had to be a priority in this Budget[i]".
We argued for more resourcing for Māori medium learning[ii], and were pleased to see increased investment in Māori education in mainstream schools as well[iii]".
"There has been some effort made to creating future pathways through the Youth Guarantee places[iv] and the $10m in Māori Affairs for Māori Cadetships. But the reality is there is a huge demand for sustainable employment for our young people and we are looking for a more significant investment in this area in the future.
"We have been proud to secure $20m for supporting New Zealanders to be smoke-free, along with the $33m for increased and improved cancer services".
But we know that there is still a massive gulf between those who have and those who are struggling. The imperative to eliminate poverty in our whānau remains of the utmost priority".
"We are here for the long haul. Our sights are clear - we have an agenda of transformation that is focused on lifting outcomes.
"Ultimately it is about restoring our capacity to be self-determining - and that is where the emphasis in Whānau Ora and in the refocusing of Te Puni Kokiri will take us".
Hon Tariana Turia and Hon Dr Pita Sharples
Maori Party Co-Leaders