“The Government’s decision to slice up over $1 billion based on race will not solve inequality,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The $1 billion is not even close to full spending on Māori Health. Māori are 14 per cent of the population, with a health budget or $24 billion, we would expect around $3.5 billion to be spent on healthcare for Māori.

“This $1 billion funding does not represent Government spending on Health, it is merely a symbolic announcement, and what is the symbol? That the Government would like to spend money along racial lines. We have to stop the racialisation of everything.

“The Government’s large and powerful Māori caucus has flexed its muscle, insisting it be seen to be helping Māori. The problem is, if the main aim is to spend on Māori health, the risk is other objectives like ‘is this good value?’ get lost.

“The emphasis should be on getting value for every dollar and fitting services to every New Zealander. Our population is more diverse than just Māori and non-Māori, but you wouldn’t know it from this Government’s priorities.

“A good start would have been to put all mental Health funding into an organisation that is expert in commissioning the best services, such as ACT’s Mental Health and Addictions New Zealand. As a world-class commissioning agency, MHANZ would ensure the Mental Health dollar goes as far as possible, and that services are fitted to all healthcare users, as befits a modern multi-ethnic nation-state.”

“ACT’s commitment is to remove the Māori Health Authority and turning policy away from Labour’s race obsession. Instead, we should be focused on the best public services that get results for New Zealanders from every background, including Māori.”