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Crown Put To The Test Before The Waitangi Tribunal On Health System Inequities

The ongoing battle for justice through achieving fair and equitable Māori health outcomes is far from over with the Crown. Two key new developments are now happening in the Waitangi Tribunal.

Claimants in WAI3307 have filed an amended Statement of Claim evidencing prejudice in the Pae Ora (Disestablishment of Māori Health Authority) Amendment Act 2024 due to it being inconsistent with the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“There was no justice in the Bill’s passing. It was a blatant disregard for the Waitangi Tribunal and what it stands for and democracy,” says Lady Tureiti Moxon, lead co-claimant, Chair of the National Urban Māori Authority and Managing Director of Te Kōhao Health.

She and fellow co-claimant, Janice Kuka are seeking a repeal and recommendation for a Heads of Agreement by the Crown that covers all the recommendations in the Hauora Report. They have not resiled from the claim.

“We were told to take up this kaupapa on behalf of our people so will keep going until we get to a place where it meets our expectations. If you're a leader, you carry you carry the integrity and the expectations of our people,” said Janice Kuka.

Today witnesses from the Crown including the acting Director General of Health and the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Disabled People are being put to the test under cross examination in the Waitangi Tribunal in WAI2575 (Waitangi Tribunal Services & Outcomes Inquiry).

“This week is about probing into ‘the why’ in terms of the unfairness and inequities of the current health and disability system response,” Lady Tureiti said.

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Inadequate resourcing to address access and equity for Māori is a major issue with the current framework.

Claimant evidence from an Official Information Act request revealed only 12% of Māori receiving Whaikaha (Ministry of Disabled People) home support get it from a Māori provider.

This is despite Māori service providers being referred by the former Director General of Health as “the gold standard” in previous cross examination.

“It’s about ensuring Māori providers are receiving the same funding as everybody else and are receiving the same number of referrals as everybody else.”

She believes the model must change to direct commissioning and direct contracting with Māori service providers to counter the current system failings that trap Māori service providers in subcontracting arrangements with mainstream organisations.

“We have found that to be totally inequitable, and totally unfair to the point where it is disadvantaging Māori everywhere.”

“It is evident that there are systemic issues faced by a lot of our people who have had to suffer disabilities who have never been looked after in the way that they ought to have been, or even serviced in the way that they ought to have been and should have. This is about upholding their right to elect how to be looked after and cared for by a fair and equitable health system.”

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