An important first step, marking another milestone in the health reforms and in addressing inequities for Māori; one that the Government should be congratulated for.
That’s the view of National Hauora Coalition (NHC) on yesterday’s interim board announcements for Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority.
The next steps, however, will be crucial in determining whether the reforms will be truly transformational or amount to a reshuffling of current arrangements, commented NHC Chief Executive Simon Royal.
“Setting out the policy and legislative arrangements so that the Ministry of Health, Public Health Agency, Health New Zealand and the Māori Health Authority are compelled to prioritise Māori health equity is the single greatest challenge that remains.
Current longstanding intergenerational inequities are a humanitarian crisis of our own making and will continue to undermine the social fabric of Aotearoa until they are addressed.”
Mr Royal said that we need not look any further than the Māori response to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for evidence that policy must reflect Māori communities’ preferences and a deep understanding of the causes of distrust in the current health system.
“Establishing the policy settings to enable this,” Mr Royal stated, “would be key in avoiding a repeat of the 2001 Primary Care Strategy which failed to address health inequities for Māori.”