National calls for wider debate on Māori Health Authority

National is calling on the Government to let New Zealanders have more of a say on whether they want a Māori Health Authority, Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins says.

“The Government has stated that it has a te Tiriti obligation to segregate healthcare in New Zealand, dividing us into Māori and everyone else. As far as the National Party is concerned, segregation was an appalling idea last century and it remains an appalling idea in 2021.

“Before we rush down this path, we need to pause and consider where segregated systems will lead us. If our te Tiriti obligations demand a separate health system, do we also need a separate education system or justice system? This is an important conversation we need to have before we take even one step towards carving up our communities.

“Labour needs to be honest with all New Zealanders about how they are interpreting the Treaty and how far they intend to take ‘co-governance’. We can argue the language and meaning of the Treaty, but the Prime Minister and her Government should be open and transparent about how they are approaching it at the very least.

“What the Government has proposed is very different to the advisory body recommended by the Simpson review and it has been very vague about what public consultation, if any, there will be on its Māori Health Authority. National believes there should be a formal consultation process.

“Further complicating things, the Government’s Cabinet Paper reveals that the Māori Health Authority will also have the power to veto any decision made by Health NZ. What does the Government hope to achieve by separating our healthcare along racial lines and then placing the power of veto in the hands of one race-based institution?

“Equality is a core value of the National Party and we will not budge on our position that every New Zealander, no matter their race, should have access to the same rights and opportunities including access to healthcare.”