The National Hauora Coalition (NHC) welcomes the release today of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Hauora report on Māori primary health care, which has found significant Treaty breaches by the Crown in relation to the unacceptable state of Māori health in Aotearoa.
The Tribunal described the situation as “urgent and serious”, and criticised the Crown’s failure to commit to achieving equity of health outcomes in the face of the persistent health inequities that Māori suffer. The Tribunal found that the Crown has breached the Treaty by significantly underfunding primary health organisations and providers that predominantly serve high needs Māori patients from the outset. The Tribunal also found that the Crown had not done enough to support and resource kaupapa Māori models of health care, and that the Treaty provides for tino rangatiratanga and mana motuhake of hauora Māori.
“After decades working in the health system, struggling to make a difference for Māori health, we feel validated. The Tribunal’s findings tell us what we so many of us working in Māori health knew all along – that the Crown hasn’t been operating in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi”, says Simon Royal – Chief Executive of the NHC and claimant in stage one of the Tribunal’s inquiry.
“This report is a watershed moment for the health system. Amongst the Tribunal findings is an acknowledgement that institutional racism in the health system manifests as ‘inaction in the face of need’ and has serious impacts on Māori. This must now lead to changed practice and courageous decisions from Government to re-calibrate the primary health care system”.
“Over the course of the Inquiry, the NHC has advocated for a Māori health authority, designed to give full expression to mana motuhake in health. We welcome the Tribunal’s interim recommendation that the Crown must explore a stand-alone Māori health authority with the NHC and the other claimant groups. The NHC is committed to doing all we can to give effect to this and all of the Tribunal recommendations and look forward with renewed enthusiasm to working with the Crown on this important work”.
“We also wish to acknowledge our fellow claimants heard in stage one. For all of us, the failures of the primary health system have been a call to action we couldn’t ignore. The NHC recognises too Māori whānau and Māori working in the sector who have shown patience waiting for a report such as this. We also acknowledge the constructive approach the Ministry of Health, under the leadership of Dr Ashley Bloomfield, has taken in supporting this inquiry.
“The NHC is ready to play its part in implementing the Tribunal’s recommendations and we look forward to working with the Crown over the coming months. We also look to the Crown to act on the findings of Treaty breach and the other recommendations from the Tribunal to make the health system Treaty-compliant.”
“We are hopeful these findings will aid the Health and Disability System Review Panel, led by Heather Simpson, as they give consideration to how the Tribunal’s report can be factored into its own recommendations.”