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Formal Acknowledgement Of FASD Failings One Step Closer

An updated statement of response from the Crown regarding WAI 2624, which is part of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry (WAI 2575) and the Justice System Kaupapa Inquiry (WAI 3060), admits there is no New Zealand specific data on the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and the extent of the issue is quantified only by overseas data.

“Several thousand New Zealanders are born with FASD every year - disproportionately Maaori. It is not acceptable they are unable to access the help they need,” says lead claimant for WAI 2624 and Tiamana Whakahaere (Executive Chairman) of Kookiri ki Taamakimakaurau Trust, Raawiri (David) Ratuu.

“Until we understand the full effects of FASD, the Crown cannot reasonably discharge its duty to look after our people - all people - who are living with the effects of FASD.”

“While I am relieved the claim is finally bringing to light the destructive impact alcohol has on Maaori communities, our top priority must be enacting change in order to prevent further harm.”

Mr Ratuu laid the initial WAI 2624 claim in 2017, focusing on the legislative failings of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 (the Act) and the subsequent prejudice suffered by Maaori as a result of those failings.

Despite the Government acknowledging the Act was no longer fit for purpose, action is yet to be seen.

“Recent evidence shows that 15 people die from alcohol-related causes every week. This equates to 570 preventable deaths since the Government announced a review of the law was being considered in March. The time for action is now.”

The hearing is set for early next year. Documents filed with the Waitangi Tribunal can be found here.

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