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Maori missing out on health services

Dr Lynda Scott National Health Spokesperson

25 July 2003

Maori missing out on health services

National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott is demanding accountability around Maori health funding after reports that a Hawkes Bay health trust is operating a hairdressing business in what is supposed to be its health centre.

"It is outlandish that the Whatuiapiti Trust is getting $1m in funding a year, and supposedly being audited, but is operating a business from the building that it gets rented cheaply for health services to Maori.

"There are also claims that family connected to the trust are given jobs and are using cars and computers for personal use.

"Maori have very poor health statistics - we have just witnessed this again in the Decades of Disparity report - and yet it is their own people that are abusing the system set up to make a difference to Maori health. This is appalling.

"With at least $135m a year spent on Maori health organisations there needs to be some accountability, and that accountability needs to be one standard for all. Auditing is not always the answer - the spending might be audited, but that is after the money's been wasted.

"I am going to be checking with the Ministry of Health who is responsible for allocating this money and monitoring it, and I am writing to the Hawkes Bay District Health Board to find out exactly what monitoring role they have.

"This is about accountability and there doesn't seem to be much of it here. National stands for one standard of citizenship for all. There is accountability around general health spending, and there needs to be for Maori health as well," Dr Scott said.

Ends

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