The Green Party is calling for greater prioritisation of Māori and Pāsefika healthcare to fix systemic inequities in the health system.
“Everyone is entitled to culturally safe and appropriate healthcare, but we know that Māori and Pāsefika communities experience major health inequities,” said Green Party Co-leader, and Māori Development and Pacific Communities spokesperson Marama Davidson.
“Māori health needs have been neglected under our current health system and the Green Party is strongly supportive of tangata whenua having greater tino rangatiratanga over their health.”
The Ministry of Health has today released Whakamaua: Māori Health Action Plan, which sets out a framework to improve Māori health over the next five years.
“The Action Plan released today puts out some clear priorities to improve health outcomes for Māori. However, we have known about racial inequity in our health system for a long time and have failed to take meaningful action,” said Marama Davidson.
“While this report does not address Pāsefika healthcare, we know there is more to be done in this area. The Greens would welcome more investigation into how to make healthcare more accessible to our Pāsefika whānau.
“We must make sure that ongoing health investment addresses inequity instead of entrenching it.
“The Green Party supports a standalone Māori Health Agency. This agency should be led by Māori expertise, properly resourced and empowered, and work within a kaupapa Māori framework. It should ensure Māori are at the centre of the decision-making process, and that the treatment process is culturally appropriate.
“We must be proactive and empower Māori and Pāsefika to enter careers in the health sector, as we know they are massively underrepresented in this area.
“The Greens already have ideas to address this, for example through our policy to offer scholarships and targeted professional development for Māori seeking management roles in the healthcare sector. We also have also committed to introducing new funding specifically to get Pāsefika people into health sector careers.
“Further to this, we need to properly fund Māori and Pāsefika community-based healthcare providers. These services are already providing high-quality and culturally appropriate primary care, and are improving health outcomes for Māori and Pāsefika communities in many areas. These clinics are bedrocks of our communities, working alongside community members to manage their complex health and social needs.
“If we are serious about achieving health for all, we need to better resource these healthcare providers as well as support new providers in underserved communities, particularly in the regions.”