Health and Wellbeing
"Māori have long suffered at the hands of a health system that does more to exclude us than include us. Our role at the Council is to ensure we do all we can to address the inequities"
The New Zealand Māori Council has been a key proponent of reform in the Primary and Mental Health sectors for some time as our people are over represented in a significant number of negative statistics. From high rates of cancer, diabetes and cardio-vascular disease right through to mental health and the highest rates of suicide amongst Māori men in the western world. The Council has rolled out a number of programs such as "How to have a Korero" that focuses on tools to help communities build a further understanding of suicide prevention right through to our response across our Sixteen Districts of the Council when it comes to COVID19. In 2018 the Council established a National Taskforce on Health and Wellbeing to focus our time and attention on this critical kaupapa.
Importantly the New Zealand Māori Council is a key claimant in the Waitangi Tribunal when it comes to the Health Claim also known as Wai 2575. Initiated in November 2016, the Waitangi Tribunal Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry (Wai 2575) will hear all claims concerning grievances relating to health services and outcomes of national significance for Māori.
As of June 2020, there are approximately 220 claims seeking to participate in the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry (the Inquiry). The claims are historical and contemporary covering a range of issues relating to the health system, specific health services and outcomes, including health equity; primary health care; disability services; mental health; and alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse.
The Inquiry consists of three stages:
Stage One inquired into the legislative and policy framework of the primary health care system (with hearings from October to December 2018)
Stage Two will be structured in two parts covering three priority areas. Part one will focus on Māori with disabilities. Part two will focus on Māori mental health (including suicide and self-harm), and issues of alcohol, tobacco, and substance abuse
Stage Three will cover the remaining national significant issues and eligible historical issues. There is currently no date for when this stage will begin.
You can find out more about the Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry on the Waitangi Tribunal website.
Stage One – Primary Health Care
Māori Primary Health Organisations and Providers (Wai 1315) and National Hauora Coalition (2687) are the named claimant groups for stage one. Seventy-six other claimant groups were granted interested party status, with varying levels of participation throughout Stage One.
Eleven days of hearings for Stage One of the Inquiry took place at Tūrangawaewae Marae, Ngāruawāhia from 15 to 19 October, 23 to 26 October and 1 – 2 November 2018. Two further days of hearings took place at the Waitangi Tribunal Offices in Wellington on 17 and 18 December 2018. Closing submissions took place at the Waitangi Tribunal Offices in Wellington on 12 and 13 of March 2019.
On 1 July 2019 the Waitangi Tribunal released their report on Stage One. The report includes several findings and recommendations for the Crown to consider:
The Tribunal requested that the Crown and claimants report their progress on 20 January 2020. That date was extended to 1 June 2020 after a joint request from the Crown and claimants.
The Crown and the named stage one claimants have been engaging since June 2019 about the findings and recommendation of the Hauora Report. In March 2020 a Heads of Agreement was signed between the Crown and the named stage one claimants to progress the two interim recommendations in the Hauora Report.
On 3 June 2020 the Crown and claimants filed a joint progress report to the Tribunal. The progress report noted that the Crown and claimants have been working virtually together and will file a further joint report with the Tribunal in response to the interim recommendations on 31 August 2020.