Today I feel the past and present Ministers want the best outcomes for the Maori ICT Fund.
So recognising that, I feel the ICT Fund process followed was without a developed strategy and seems to have concluded with the draft plan finally being laid at the ministers tables.
Maori with non Maori included have to get it straight the Maori ICT fund is not solely for Maori and like the past, don’t mistake the resource as Maori because it has the word Maori in the title. It is public and the government owns it, so they will decide what’s best by their departments and their select Maori leaders.
Apart from that the majority of Maori industry owners created a Maori ICT sector on their own and have had minimal support to grow significantly because they are looked at as inferior in this industry by both non Maori and a lot of Maori as well, thus Maori resources were and are contracted to non Maori providers because of that mindset.
The government should consider taking the word Maori off the title of the fund because it insinuates it is for Maori when the majority of it will be accessed by non-Maori within the framework they decided and if it is used as a weapon to encourage conformity it should be taken back and renamed.
I feel the practice of Divide and Decide could be used to justify the majority of the ICT fund benefiting non Maori. I felt the process of consultation with Maori was primarily to encourage Maori collectives, but it could have inadvertently or intentionally created a lot of new collective groups, hungry for this fund to end up in competition with each other. Looking back to the past I feel this action could be used as the catalyst for the majority of the ICT fund to go to the select organisations and select non Maori providers where Maori ideas get miss-placed or even stolen.
Considering Nga Pu Waea, Te Huarahi Tika Trust and Hautaki Ltd are government established and the newly formed collective groups being industry leaders coming together under a new group name leaves them vulnerable to exclusion.
Nga Pu Waea, Te Huarahi Tika Trust and Hautaki Ltd have had huge resources since they were established, I recommend leaving them to operate with those funds and any of the ICT fund as a good solution.
The Digital Maori Forum and Maori Internet Society as legally recognized Maori ICT organisation get resourced to umbrella and support those industry collectives through the government ICT fund process so that they cannot be isolated and excluded because of their legal accountability.
The Digital Maori Forum also recommend that the ICT Fund application and distribution process with conflicts of interest mitigated become fully open and transparent so that Maori ideas cannot be stolen.
Finally the Digital Maori Forum has operated since 2005 without much government support, but has supported the select government groups many times even when they excluded DMF from many of the benefits they received with our help. So if Minister Amy Adams and Minister Te Ururoa Flavel wish to carry on with business as usual then please realize if there is no change then significant Maori ICT growth will not be your legacy.

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