Māori health not set for substantial Tiriti-based change under current Labour policies, says nurses organisation

By Te Ao - Māori News
NZ Nurses Organisation Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku.  Photo / File

The NZ Nurses Organisation claims Labour's health policies and Māori manifesto do not indicate any substantial Tiriti-based change for Māori health.

"For a health policy with an ‘increased focus on equity’, the first thing we should see is a commitment to closing the 25% pay gap between Māori and Iwi providers and DHBs, a clear plan to grow the Māori nursing workforce, and a vision that ensures Māori nurse leadership," NZ Nurses Organisation Kaiwhakahaere Kerri Nuku said in a statement. 

"However, Labour’s only Māori-focused health policy is its vague commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Health and Disability Review." 

This review included a recommendation that a Māori Health Authority be created but rejected an alternative view supported by all the review’s Māori expert advisors and a majority of the review panel's members.

Nuku said it is well recognised that the best approach for Māori is one led by Māori and that establishing such an authority would mean very little if the Crown continues to hold power. 

"We need to see that the Crown truly understands the impacts of colonisation by upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi. That means sharing power in a meaningful way so that Māori can exercise rangatiratanga," she said.

"Just as we saw with the first wave of Covid, it was only because of Māori mobilisation that we had the lowest rate of transmission out of anyone in Aotearoa. Our Māori nurses were on the frontline of that response."