Release: Government to abandon Māori health

Disestablishing Te Aka Whai Ora ahead of an emergency Waitangi Tribunal hearing is not only hasty, it goes against the treaty and the advice of experts, says Associate Health (Māori Health) spokesperson Peeni Henare.

“Rushing through the dissolution of Te Aka Whai Ora is evasive and cowardly, and ignores steps put in place by generations to ensure Governments are held to account for Māori health,” says Peeni Henare.

“We know that Māori have a shorter life expectancy than others in New Zealand, and they historically have worse access to the social and medical services that might change this. By taking away the very initiative designed to improve Māori health so they can live as long as the rest of the population, the Government is showing New Zealand that it wants to take our people backwards.

“The changes the Government will make also means the Ministry of Health can’t be advised by Māori, meaning almost 20% of the population has their voice removed from the agency charged with the health outcomes.

“Having used misinformation about Te Aka Whai Ora to get elected, Dr Reti should be ashamed to be playing politics with the lifespan of Māori. More than 60 organisations including the Cancer Society, the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine have asked the Coalition Government to abandon its plans to disestablish the Māori Health Authority.

“I challenge this government to stand down, stand alongside the evidence and to honour the commitment and obligations under the Treaty, and let Te Aka Whai Ora do its job,” says Henare.

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