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NZ Psychological Society Concerned By Plans To Disestablish Te Aka Whaiora

The New Zealand Psychological Society Rōpū Mātai Hinengaro o Aotearoa (NZPsS) are deeply concerned about proposals by the newly elected government to disestablish Te Aka Whaiora (the Māori Health Authority). This would be a backwards move, regressing massive advances towards addressing the harm systemic racism and oppression have wrought in our health system.

Te Aka Whaiora represents a significant step forward in addressing the imbalance and was developed in consultation with the health sector. It is devastating to consider that this could be disestablished. This agency supports the continued development and commissioning of culturally appropriate services and accelerates work to reduce barriers to healthcare.

NZPsS regularly see the impacts that historic and current inequities have on Māori communities and are actively taking significant and meaningful steps to rectify this systemic racism. We recently launched Te Rautaki o te Reo Māori (our Māori language strategy) and have been in a process of developing a Tiriti lens to inform how we work. Work such as this, alongside clear measures to address poverty can substantially improve mental health and wellbeing in our communities.

At a NZ Psychological Society candidate event prior to the election, all the political candidates (representing ACT, Greens, Labour and National) voiced their support for not only the retention of psychologists in our workforce, but also the need for growing the workforce. “That focus needs to also include enhancing the diversity of our psychologists to ensure that we are well-equipped to meet the needs of Aotearoa’s diverse populations and fulfil our commitment to te Tiriti o Waitangi.” said the NZPsS President, Tania Anstiss

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