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Why the Treaty clause for dentists?

Hon. Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

20 April 2006

Why the Treaty clause for dentists?

National Party Health spokesman Tony Ryall is calling on the Government to strip the Treaty clauses from all the service contracts being used by District Health Boards.

“Labour is back to its old tricks after pretending to crack down on Treaty clauses and race-based policies.

“Just why a dentist needs to be bound by the Treaty of Waitangi escapes me. Teeth are teeth, and people should get help on the basis of need, not race.”

Mr Ryall has obtained a template copy of DHBs ‘Service Agreement for the Provision of Oral Health Services for Adolescents and Special Dental Services for Children and Adolescents’.

The contract is used by DHBs for state-subsidised dental work on children and adolescents. It includes a Treaty of Waitangi clause and a separate Maori Health Priority clause.

The Treaty of Waitangi clause reads: ‘The Treaty of Waitangi establishes a unique and special relationship between iwi Maori and the Crown. As a Crown entity <> DHB considers the Treaty of Waitangi principles of partnership, proactive protection of Maori health interests, co-operation and utmost good faith, to be implicit conditions of the nature in which the internal organisation of the Ministry of Health responds to Maori health issues. Therefore all providers, whose clientele may include Maori, will have policies, practices and processes as part of their organisation to ensure service delivery benefits its Maori clientele’.

The Maori Health priority clause says: ‘You agree that Maori health is a specifically identified health gain priority area. You must take into account our strategic direction for Maori health in terms of minimum requirements for Maori health as communicated to you by us from time to time. These minimum requirements are based on the Treaty of Waitangi, crown objectives for Maori health and specific requirements negotiated with us from time to time’.

”Why is the Ministry of Health, through District Health Boards, telling dentists - and no doubt other contractors - to treat kids differently? When it comes to health, you should get help on the basis of need, regardless of race or the Treaty.

“Another troubling aspect is that the politically correct Treaty principles now appear to have been re-written to include the ‘pro-active protection of Maori health interests’. What does that mean?

“National believes the Health Ministry should respond to all New Zealanders on the basis of their health need, not their race, and certainly not because there’s a Treaty clause in the contract.

“Helen Clark told New Zealanders she had stopped all this. Clearly she hasn’t and this PC nonsense is infecting more and more of the health system,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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