Joint Discussion Paper Released

Tangata whenua must have mana motuhake, or self-rule, over the proposed Māori Health Authority for it to be successful.

Mana Motuhake Key to Independent Māori Health Authority

Tangata whenua must have mana motuhake, independence and control, over the proposed Māori Health Authority for it to be successful, according to a discussion paper released by Te Puna Ora o Mataatua (TPO) this week.

The Government is currently reviewing the country’s Health and Disability services and the idea of creating an independent Māori Health Authority has been proposed as the most successful way deliver health equity for Māori.

Initial cabinet decisions regarding the creation of the authority are expected to be announced soon, however TPO has pulled together a joint discussion paper on next steps.

TPO Chief Executive Dr Chris Tooley said a Māori Health Authority was part of Labour’s 2020 election promise in its Next Steps to Rebuilding Our Health System to help address the inequity faced by Māori.

However, Dr Tooley said there has been very little or no consultation with Māori on what the Māori Health Authority should look like to date.

“We welcome the initial indications provided by Government to date to establish a Māori Health Authority however Māori should be given responsibility to design its form and functions and consider the powers and resourcing required to give it effect. An essential part of this process is to include a transparent consultation process with Māori”.

Based in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, TPO is New Zealand’s largest regional health, medical, social and employment provider. It is guided by the Poutokomanawa o Te Puna Ora framework, which utilises Māori kaupapa, to deliver services.

TPO commissioned the discussion paper after the Final Report of the Health and Disability System included a recommendation for a Māori Health Authority.

Written by TPO with support from Whaia Legal, the paper has been endorsed by the Iwi Leaders Forum Pou Tangata Working Group and by the National Hauora Coalition.

The discussion paper says the recommended Māori Health Authority must be independent, full commissioning rights and have the same mana as the Ministry of Health. It provides a number of options and considerations that need to be worked through by Māori in establishing the Māori Health Authority.

“For the Māori Health Authority to succeed it must be “by Māori, for Māori”, must do it all, and must be independent. For the Māori Health Authority to be transformational requires a wide-ranging set of functions and a structure that allows Māori Health Authority.”

In order to drive the urgent change required for the establishment of the Māori Health Authority, the discussion paper recommends the following immediate next steps:

  • A Ministerial Māori Health Working Group be established as soon as possible to advise Hons. Andrew Little and Peeni Henare on the options for the MHA (made up of Iwi, Hauora Providers and Claimants);
  • For the Working Group to hold a national or series of regional wānanga to discuss the structure and function of MHA (as suggested in this paper);
  • For the Working Group to design and propose Functions and Structure of MHA to Ministers Andrew Little and Peeni Henare that is integrated into the wider Health & Disability Sector restructure;
  • For the Working Group to be supported and resourced by the Health Review Unit set up in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC).

This was featured on Te Ao News on 14.4.21 with comment from Hon. Peeni Henare who advised he has been talking with Dr Tooley, the Iwi Leaders Group and also discussed the matter at the Waitangi tribunal and will have further discussions and announcements in the near future about this. Watch the story below.

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