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Treaty Warning must be heard

Public Health Bill threatens to undo Treaty Commitments of the last Decade
Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party and Spokesperson on Health
Thursday 24 April 2008

Tariana Turia is shocked by the advice from the Public Health Association that proposed Public Health Bill could result in a “clouded and confused approach to Maori involvement in health” and is being described as an “instance of institutional racism”.

“This a grim warning that we in the Health Select Committee must pay serious attention to” said Mrs Turia, health spokesperson for the Maori Party.

“When the [Public Health] Bill came before the House last December, the Maori Party pointed out that it lacked any explicit focus on inequities or Maori health development, and that there was no commitment in the Bill to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We wanted to hear what the people thought – how they responded to the marginalisation of Maori in the Bill” said Mrs Turia.

“The Public Health Association have said it loudly and clearly - that without references to how the sector can recognise and respect Te Tiriti o Waitangi, we run the risk of returning to an era where Maori were expected to passively accept decisions made outside their communities”.

“The tragedy is that this Bill threatens to undo the history of Treaty commitments made in health by successive Governments over the last decade and more” said Mrs Turia.

“Te Tiriti o Waitangi commits the Crown to form partnerships with tangata whenua, to recognise and provide for tangata whenua interests, to be responsive to the needs of tangata whenua”

“Tangata whenua priorities and practices must be considered essential to the development of public health in this land” said Mrs Turia.

“We in the Maori Party will be taking up the call of the Public Health Association to ensure tangata whenua lead the decisions that affect them”.


--


Background - Treaty references in Health

1996: “The Government affirms that Maori as tangata whenua hold a unique place in our country, and that the Treaty of Waitangi is the nation’s founding document. To secure the Treaty’s place within the health sector is fundamental to the improvement of Maori health”

Rt. Hon. Jenny Shipley, (1996). Policy guidelines for Maori health 1996-1997. Wellington, NZ:

Ministry of Health


New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000

‘The Treaty is an integral part of the Bill [now Act]. In the health sector, key Treaty principles for involving Maori include partnership, participation and protection. This Government is committed to ensuring these principles are acknowledged and actioned.

Hon. Annette King and Hon. Tariana Turia (14 November 2000) Media statement: ‘Guidelines for Cultural Safety, the Treaty of Waitangi, and Maori Health’.

23 April 2008 'Public Health Association says new legislation must include references to Treaty of Waitangi'


ENDS

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