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Maori health statistics released

Maori health statistics released

Must-have resource book now avaliable to plan ahead in Maori health

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Thank you for joining me today to launch Tatau Kahukura: Maori Health Chart Book.

Everything begins with a whakapapa and of course Tatau Kahukura is no different.

2 years ago the Ministry of Health embarked on a range of consultation hui. During these hui, Maori made it clear they wanted easy access to a wide range of health information. They also wanted that information in a useful form.

The response has been Tatau Kahukura.

· It is a comparison of the health of the Maori population with non-Maori.

· It is a tool to be used by Maori and by the health and disability sector.

We know the Maori population is expected to grow 20 percent by 2021. Therefore this publication (which will be updated every three years) will act as a valuable tool for researchers, policymakers, funders, and providers - in fact anyone working to reduce health inequalities.

· The information will have a myriad of uses including:
- Determining health needs and status;
- Prioritising planning and the allocation of resources;
- Development and evaluation of policy; and
- Supporting innovation and improving quality.

In all areas of health we act upon an evidence base, and At the local level PHI online makes available DHB level information. Effective action to address inequalities and improve Maori health must tackle the social and economic issues, issues based on evidence.

If we are to live longer, have healthier lives, and fulfill our potential to participate in New Zealand society, then the factors that cause health inequalities cannot be ignored.

The evidence in Tatau Kahukura is not new. Maori have on average the poorest health status of any ethnic group in New Zealand. Inequalities exist, and Maori health need is real.

This government has made it a priority to reduce the health inequalities and our plan has been in place since 2002. Our focus has been on whanau ora or family wellness. This is key to He Korowai Oranga, the Maori Health Strategy Maori families supported to achieve their maximum health and wellbeing.

Since the introduction of He Korowai Oranga in 2002, analysis suggests there is now a firm foundation for the health and disability sector to improve Maori health outcomes.

However, this foundation is only a beginning and it must be consolidated. It requires collaboration on the part of the entire health and disability sector.

Whakatataka: Maori Health Action Plan 2002-2005 described actions to achieve the aims and objectives of He Korowai Oranga.

The second action plan for 2006-2011 is being developed and a draft is expected to be released for public comment in June/July.

I expect that this plan will be enhanced and strengthened during this consultation process by the valuable contribution of Maori, other key stakeholders, providers and funders.

I encourage you to make submissions on the next version of Whakatataka, and I look forward to seeing how the action plan evolves as a result this process.

I also want to touch on some of the governments other initiatives which makes today's launch particularly relevant. This week some of our key, whole of government policy initiatives began.

Our Working for Families package is going to savage the child poverty statistics. Almost three in every four New Zealand families with dependent children will be entitled to Family Assistance tax credits.

Our KiwiSaver scheme is going to improve the prospects of home ownership among low and middle-income earners where the majority of our people reside. Couples can qualify for a government contribution of up to $20 thousand to buy their first home. Add to that their own savings and we have the genesis of a family well on their way toward a better future.

As at last Saturday the interest rates on student loans were abolished for those living in New Zealand. So why is this relevant here? Because it removes a major barrier for young Maori who want to attend tertiary education. The flow-on effects to whanau will be immense.

I think many of us here can remember the days when whole Maori communities ran raffles and sold hangi in order to send a couple of their kids to attend university? We are making sure that education is affordable in within reach.

These are just three examples of what this government is doing to reduce the inequalities. I am confident that combined with a measuring tool like Tatau Kahukura we will see real progress.

One of the challenges that Tatau Kahukura poses is for decision makers to act on the findings.

Not only is it essential that initiatives to resolve Maori health issues continue to be based on robust and accurate information.

But it is also essential for assessing the performance of the Ministry of Health, DHBs and other key institutions concerned with improving Maori health outcomes.

It is worth reminding you all that Tatau Kahukura will be repeated every three years to ensure we are able to monitor progress towards whanau ora and reducing inequalities.

But my final point is that I hope that by making this information available it enhances whanau, hapu, iwi and Maori communities role in decision making.

Thank you for joining us today.and I officially launch Tatau Kahukura: Maori Health Chart Book.

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