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Inquiry into health inequities for Māori

The Inquiry

This month the Waitangi Tribunal released a report into Health Services and Outcomes for Māori in Aotearoa. Broadly, the Tribunal inquired into:

  • The Health and Disabilities Act 2000;
  • The primary health sector, including the vision and strategies of health service providers;
  • Funding of primary health care;
  • Whether the provision of health services since 2000, from the Ministry of Health to services provided by District Health Boards, have been consistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Tribunal focused on whether various parts of the health system are working to reduce inequitable health outcomes suffered by Māori.  

There was agreement by claimants and the Crown that detriments to health are complex and that the Crown cannot be held totally responsible.  However, the persistent inequities experienced by Māori indicated a breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Tribunal findings

In its Report, the Waitangi Tribunal made the following key findings:

  • The Health and Disabilities Act 2000 failed to consistently achieve equitable outcomes and does not go far enough to ensure the whole health system is compliant with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi;
  • $220 billion has been invested into the health system since 2000, yet there has been little measurable improvement to Māori health outcomes;
  • Māori primary health organisations were underfunded from the outset and funding is not targeted to where it is needed;
  • Māori do not have adequate decision making and influence for delivery of primary health – for example, Māori do not have a lot of input, if any, in governance arrangements for District Health Boards;
  • The Crown does not collect sufficient data to be fully informed on how primary health care performs in relation to Māori health;
  • Te Puni Kōkiri failed to carry out its statutory duty to monitor the health sector by failing to conduct agency reviews;
  • Overall the Crown has not held the primary health care sector to account.
Tribunal recommendations

The Tribunal recommended that the Crown explore establishing a ‘stand-along’ Māori primary health care authority, and that the Crown urgently review funding for primary health care.

The Tribunal further recommended that the Health and Public Disability Act 2000 be amended to include a new Te Tiriti o Waitangi clause and commit to achieve equitable outcomes for Māori.

A copy of the Waitangi Tribunal Hauora Report can be found at this link

Update on the Māori Affairs Committee process

The Māori Affairs Committee is now seeking public submissions on health inequities for Māori.  The focus is on cancer care and barriers Māori experience relating to prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, cures and palliative care.  

The Committee wants to hear from those who have interacted with the health sector on any of those issues and wants to hear of any whānau centric initiatives.

Submissions close 20 September 2019.  If you wish to make a submission follow this link:

If you would like further information please contact Renika Siciliano on 07 958 7429.


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