Māori Health Authority gets government green light

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

The government is making good on the promise of a Māori Health Authority that will work in partnership with the Ministry of Health as a steward for hauora Māori.

Associate Minister of Health (Māori), Peeni Henare says, “We talk a lot about being a transformational government. Some imagine this statement means big infrastructural builds, massive policy commitments all leading up to a grand reveal. But this is what I see as transformation, something quite simple and yet so very complex, Māori feeling comfortable and able to go to the doctor when they get sick.”

Health Minister Andrew Little said to an enthused audience, “By making these changes, we can start giving true effect to tino rangatiratanga and our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

The plan released today intends to improve the way in which the health system is overseen and how it reports. It also includes strengthening the current advisory role it holds with the government.  But when it comes to the money, it won’t be directly funding or commissioning health services.

Replacing DHBs

The second part of the plan is to yet to be established. Health New Zealand will be responsible for hospitals and commissioning primary and community health services. The new entity will replace the current 20 district health boards.

As for the Māori Health Authority, it will "directly commission health services for Māori and to partner with Health NZ in other aspects of the health system’".

A public health agency will also be established inside the Ministry of Health. The agency will be responsible for public health strategy, policy, analysis and monitoring

Interim agencies are to be set up later in 2021 to support the establishment of Health NZ and the Māori Health Authority.

More to come.