Yesterday Treasury released its Living Standards Framework Dashboard. This dashboard attempts to take deep dive into the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders all with the aim of informing Budget 2019 - billed as a Wellbeing Budget.
However, there are real grounds for concerns about the dashboard and how it will be used.
“Māori health inequities are serious and persistent, and yet the response from the Treasury is to develop a complicated looking dashboard, with unspectacular analysis, which further ignores the humanitarian crisis of Māori health and wellbeing”, says National Hauora Coalition Chief Executive, Simon Royal.
“The siloing of Māori indicators means the dashboard offers no further insight for those of us who have worked to improve Māori health outcomes for decades. The promise to provide more of a “Te Ao Māori” perspective in the future makes it clear that The Treasury sees Māori as an add on and neither a true Treaty partner, nor fundamental to any look at wellbeing in Aotearoa.
Simon Royal is one of the two named claimants for Wai 2687, a Waitangi Tribunal claim supported by the National Hauora Coalition and currently being heard by the Tribunal in stage one of its kaupapa (or thematic) inquiry into health services and outcomes. In that inquiry the Tribunal has been presented considerable evidence already about Crown inaction in the face of demonstrable need, and lack of good quality data to monitor and address the unjust health differences between Māori and non-Māori.
“There is an irony to The Treasury producing this dashboard and preparing for a wellbeing budget” says Simon. “The growth of the inequity over the past 10 years has come off the back of Treasury advice and the advice of other officials who have not challenged the status quo or acted in a way that truly addresses Māori need”.
The Waitangi Tribunal will finishing hearing evidence in stage one of its inquiry in late December, with closing submissions in March next year. The National Hauora Coalition will continue to participate as a claimant over this time, seeking solutions that champion mana motuhake and demonstrate commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.