Mana Tiriti.

By Dr Miriama Postlethwaite, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Our Minister of Finance said, “Education is the great liberator, the great equaliser and the most enduring gift we can bestow on our children.” This perspective continues to speak oppression to Māori as the Tangata Whenua partner and is reflected in the lack of Budget towards ensuring equitable outcomes for Māori.

This Budget’s allocation to education is merely operational costs and nothing to address growth and prosperity in the sector and will put added pressure on our Māori communities.

It is austerity for whānau, not prosperity. It is a kick in the pants when this Government states it cannot afford to fund our education sector properly; let’s not forget they had no issue in conjuring up $2.9b for landlord tax cuts.

What affects Māori financially at the grassroots, at the whānau level, affects their life choices.

With the threat of revising an already successful lunch-programme in schools, the minimum wage being held at below inflation and tax cuts of $2.50 for the median income earner on $49,000 a year, we can only call this Budget a joke – it certainly doesn’t ensure that tangata whenua have a fair deal.

Education is a great liberator, but it could not be if at the grassroots, there is struggle to live at the most basic level. No, education is not a great liberator, under this Budget, the Matthew effect parable of accumulated advantage whereby those who have, prosper, and those who cannot, do not.