Minister of Health says Ministry of Health should release Māori health data

Since the High Court delivered its resounding view that the Ministry of Health should release critical individual data to the Whānau Ora Commission Agency to improve Māori communities Covid vaccination rates, everyone’s still waiting – despite the Minister of Health agreeing with the Court’s view.

“It’s not good enough for the Minister of Health to simply criticise his own Ministry for not releasing individual data to the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency to help with the vaccine roll-out, he must actually do something about it, says National’s Covid spokesperson Chris Bishop.

“This is an unbelievable, almost unheard of situation where the Minister of Health openly says that the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency should have access to the data but won’t take steps to actually make it happen.

“The High Court delivered a stinging rebuke to the Ministry of Health but despite the slap down from the High Court, the Director-General still won’t take action. It’s over to Andrew Little to actually show some leadership and make sure that the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency can get access to the data it needs to improve Māori vaccination rates.

“It shouldn’t need to be spelled out to Andrew Little – but he is the Minister. He can make this happen, and he should.

“Andrew Little is not some random stranger with no interest in this issue. He is a very well paid senior Minister who is accountable to the New Zealand Parliament and New Zealand people for his actions.”

National’s Māori Development and Whānau Ora Spokesperson Harete Hipango is equally astounded. 

“Relevant Ministers and the Director-General can’t keep pulling out these bureaucratic stops when, meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is more than happy to hand over similar data to Healthline, a non-Māori provider. The inconsistencies are astonishing.

“For three years the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency has asked health officials to give them access to key Māori data – so the request was with the Ministry of Health before Covid-19 broke out.

“The agency’s request for data was reiterated at the beginning of the rollout in February when it put forward a business case to the Ministry of Health over how to roll out the vaccination programme to Māori. It was declined.

“We’re now nine months into the rollout and Māori vaccination rates are 21 per cent below that of the general population. Time is becoming more critical by the day.

“Andrew Little’s intervention comes on the heels of Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson saying that the Whanau Ora Commissioning Agency should have the data.

“These Ministers need to stop bloviating to media and complaining about their own Government and just sort it out.

“Time to step up, Mr Little.”