“The creation of a Māori Health Authority with a veto over national health plans shows Jacinda Ardern’s Government is much more radical than Helen Clark’s was,” says ACT Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

The Government’s health review Cabinet paper says:

‘…the Māori Health Authority should have a co-lead role in relation to national planning and in designing the key operating mechanisms that the system will use. This would require the Māori Health Authority to jointly agree national plans and operational frameworks…with clear approval rights including an ability to exercise a veto in sign-off.’

“This goes much further what the Simpson review proposed and shows a radical government committed to separate systems based on race, rather than a country where all people are equal before the law.

“ACT opposes co-governance – it’s divisive and represents a serious departure from the idea that all New Zealanders have equal rights.

“The creation of a separate Māori Health Authority is more evidence that the Government is committed to implementing the recommendations of He Puapua, a report which aims to give effect to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. That report recommends, by 2040:

'The existence of a Māori-controlled [health] agency, organisation of collective with oversight and control of Māori health related spending and policy.' [p. 89]

“Other parts of He Puapua are already being implemented by the Government: exempting some Māori land from rates, establishing Māori wards, giving Māori greater rights under the RMA, and a new history curriculum were all proposed by the report.

“In addition, the report proposes:

• A Māori Parliament
• A Māori court system
• A Treaty-based constitution
• Public education programmes across all sectors, including conscious and subconscious bias training, to deal with structural racism
• Significantly increased return of Crown lands and waters to Māori ownership in addition to Treaty settlements
• Progressively bringing all legislation into line with the Declaration.

“Will the Government openly tell New Zealanders whether it intends to implement the remaining recommendations?

“Ultimately, this is a question about what the Treaty means. Does it mean that all New Zealanders are equal before the law? Or does it mean we are a partnership between two collectives, and our rights depend on who our grandparents are?

“ACT believes all New Zealanders should have equal rights and opportunities, particularly in healthcare.

“The creation of a separate Māori Health Authority is a divisive move. The Government must stop separating New Zealanders based on their race and focus on the common dignity of us all.”

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