What does the Government have against Maori health?

Written By: - Date published: 11:25 am, February 29th, 2024 - 12 comments
Categories: chris hipkins, Christopher Luxon, health, Social issues - Tags:

Yesterday was a particularly messy day for the Government.

It chose to smash through under urgency the Pae Ora (Disestablishment of Māori Health Authority) Amendment Bill. Urgency was deemed necessary because the Waitangi Tribunal had decided to hold an urgent hearing into the proposal and its effect on Treaty relations and the Government wanted to gazump this.

It is difficult to imagine until yesterday but clearly National’s relationship with Māori has deteriorated even further after this stunt.  The intent of Pae Ora was to improve Māori health statistics which are currently appalling.  A seven year gap between life expectancy for Māori and for Pakeha should be all the proof that is required.  Reversing the reform, using urgency, failing to consult with Māori or offer the legislation up for select committee review or having any alternative to offer is appalling.

Then to really show what it thinks about Māori health it made under urgency changes to the Smokefree Legislation. This caused this response from Chris Hipkins. I am not a fan but his speech was really, really good.

He then completely snookered Christopher Luxon at question time about how laws against semi automatic weapons were almost inevitably going to be loosened.

Luxon’s response was weak and clearly there will be a backtrack from his former assertion that bring back semi automatic firearms is not going to happen.  His comment “[n]o papers have been received or decisions made in our Cabinet” means that the papers are in preparation and there have been discussions.  Claiming that the changes will ensure “greater protection for public safety” is ridiculous, as ridiculous as claiming that we have to possess nuclear weapons to deter the use of nuclear weapons.

The Smokefree bill has some really interesting features, like removal of requirements to consult with Māori.

The purposes of the Act have been rewritten.  There is no longer the need to to reduce disparities in smoking rates and smoking-related illnesses between New Zealand population groups and, in particular, between Māori and other groups.  The words “prevent the harmful effect of other people’s smoking on the health of others, and especially on young people and children” have been removed as have the words “significantly reduce the retail availability of smoked tobacco products”.  Big Tobacco’s bottom line will be preserved because the intent is to “support smokers to switch to regulated products that are significantly less harmful than smoking”.  The goal no longer is to prevent young people, and successive generations, from ever taking up smoking.  And advertising will be regulated and controlled, not restricted. 

And call me a conspiracist and give me a tinfoil hat but this bill has Big Tobacco’s fingerprints all over it.  As said by Hipkins (refer to video above):

This is a bill that will kill people; it is a bill that will increase smoking in New Zealand. The hollow words that we just got from the Minister sponsoring the bill are nothing more than regurgitated talking points from the tobacco lobby. We have heard it all before from the tobacco lobby, and the Minister promoting this bill simply stood up and read it out on their behalf.

But it goes worse than that, because we know that the instructions she gave to the officials that prepared this bill probably came from the tobacco lobby as well. This is a Government that is firmly in the pocket of the tobacco industry, and the Minister presenting this bill is simply doing their bidding, bringing a bill before the House that will do harm to New Zealand.

National’s blitzkreig use of urgency to smash through changes is eating up huge amounts of good will and hardening opposition to the Government.  And creating a strong impression that they are doing the bidding of their sponsors not acting in the country’s best interests.

 

12 comments on “What does the Government have against Maori health? ”

  1. Robert Guyton 1

    They plan to buy off key groups within Māoridom with funds and grants.

    The rest don't matter to them, imo.

    • Michael 1.1

      Precisely. The Natzis know that non-rich white voters hate Maori, which provides the Natzis with a perfect opportunity to play the race card and divert attention away from the effects of their policies – to further enrich the very rich and impoverish everyone else. It's not very sophisticated or clever and it's morally reprehensible but it works like a charm.

      It's also got Labour fucked: they haven't got the guts to mount any real opposition. Just crocodile tears and sound bites.

  2. Sadly I agree Robert. It has shown us what will happen if we have another Pandemic.

    Health will be pushed aside for money. Science? Data? That is of no matter, give people freedom from pesky regulations, all to the Atlas playbook.

    Who will remove trim change our regulations… Seymore that's who. What a croc.imo.

    As for public support, just watch the closet racists come out in support. Many thousands have come in lately. What is their view? Money is key. Pun intended. He is off ..work done. imo
    Also we are becoming tenants in our own land, having given power to the elite imho.
    Maori and Pacifica are not valued

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    It is all part of enduring post colonial fall out in my view. Subjugated indigenous populations all over the world find it hard to bounce back from land theft, economic marginalisation, cultural suppression and let's face it–blatant institutional racism.

    Roughly 40% of tau iwi and Pākehā “kiwis” are dark people in my estimation, sometimes in denial because their living depends on stolen or dubiously acquired land. I am Pākehā 4th gen here, and when they think no brown people are around the things bal’heads say about Māori is horrendous.

    I don’t want to repeat the stack of bad statistics again, but there are scant Māori Doctors, other GPs are on record on RNZ shows as holding back prescriptions to Māori because “they won’t take them”. Free scripts saw an uptake of collects, and the Natzos as far as I know are reimposing charges…

    Scapegoating and division is where capital has always been at. They fear unity of working class people across ethnic lines, which Te Pāti Māori looks well capable of leading in its current iteration.

    Patricia’s point about COVID is scary indeed.

  4. SPC 4

    It's worse than that.

    The Minister is obstructing the intended purpose of Health New Zealand.

    Health Minister Shane Reti plans to scrap another key part of the Health New Zealand reforms.

    A Cabinet paper on the MHA removal showed that Reti also planned to get rid of what are known as “localities”.

    They were designed to maintain some local decision-making in the new, centralised health system.

    Reti told Cabinet the aim of the localities had been to support localism and encourage integration between public services.

    The localities were also a way for new iwi-Māori partnership boards and the Māori Health Authority (MHA) to exercise joint decision-making with Health New Zealand.

    He said community involvement in health service planning would remain “essential” to the delivery of services.

    While he did not identify an alternative to localities, he said iwi-Māori partnership boards and community providers would play an important role in maintaining community involvement.

    Reti has previously said he does not want to undertake further structural change of the health system because health workers were exhausted after going through major reforms during a pandemic.

    When he took on the portfolio, officials warned him about further structural change, saying there was “significant … change fatigue” in the health system.

    A misrepresentation. They were not concerned about what was being implemented (connection between HNZ and local community delivery was essential to the reform) but too much revisionism from National.

    “The next couple of years will be important for stabilising, consolidating and refining the new operating roles and functions of key entities, including the changes resulting from the disestablishment of the MHA.”

    I think we will find NACT have their own plan as per "community" partners – outside non public industry interests.

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/health-nz-te-whatu-ora-localities-next-for-chop-after-maori-health-authority-abolition/U2SYOMPKZNEYRM7TSBTMGN2VOY/

    • SPC 4.1

      It seems the role for Maori via either the MHA or iwi Maori partnership board in budget planning was too much for the government.

      A locality plan for each locality must be developed at least every three years, with a locality co-ordinator who will involve the relevant community and local organisations such as health providers, iwi, local authority representatives, and social sector agencies.

      They will work out what is available in the area and what is needed.

      The locality plan will set out priority outcomes for services and help Health NZ plan its budget. The locality plans must be agreed by Health NZ along with the Māori Health Authority and the relevant iwi Māori Partnership Board

      Each DHB previously worked with an iwi relationship board, but they will become boards established by law to contribute to decision-making about local health priorities.

      The Māori Health Authority will be required to support and engage the network of iwi Māori Partnership Boards (IMPBs) and consult them on local plans, priorities, and national strategies.

      The IMPBs will monitor the health system in their localities against the locality plan. IMPBs may serve more than one locality

      https://archive.li/a9ym1

  5. Kokako 5

    Christ on a bike, Luxon is a cartoon character.

  6. Anne 6

    Chloe Swarbrick's contribution to the repeal of the tobacco legislation which imo is as good as Hipkins:

    https://vimeo.com/917353468?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

  7. Mike the Lefty 7

    National has nothing against Maoris as long as they are healthy, wealthy and wise, like their own Maori MPs.

    But if not, then they are consigned to the category of hangers-on and free-loaders.

    That has always been the case with National, it won't change anytime soon.

  8. thinkers 8

    The rich white boomers that the coalition is appealing to have fixed views on many things.

    I don't think National thinks about its own opinion of Maori and PIs. It just knows when it kicks them around it boosts its own reputation with its support base.

    I don't think National is purely anti-Maori though. Public servants, jobless, state-school pupils, tertiary students trying to improve themselves on the public purse and all the other groups that are easy targets for a minority who are rich enough to isolate themselves from the lower-middle and lower classes, but feel important enough to pass judgement on those people's lives are all similar targets, IMHO.

  9. Anker 9

    There was no evidence that the separate Maori health authority was ever going improve Maori Health outcomes. More bureacracy does not neccessarily mean better outcomes.

    Reti moved very quickly to give some millions to local Northland health providers (whanau ora) to increase vacination rates for Maori and other children in Northland where vacination rates have fallen. It is this action that will make a real difference. Not bureaucrats sitting in Wellington.

    Reti appears to be focused on the crisis in staffing in the NZ Health system, eg putting in extra security for staff over the xmas period due to the high number of assaults in ED during the festive season. Assaults decreased by 50%. He has confirmed he will continue with increased security going forward.

    This is what I am looking for in a health minister. Not more fecking bureacrats.

    Re smoke free. Nothing has been rolled back. They are cancelling the final step of the smoke free legisation and reviewing all options. National didn't vote for it, so its hardly surprizing. But for those who are disappointed about this cancellation of the final step, you can see what happens when Richie Sunak brings it in the UK and how well it works or not. No one has used this strategy before. So maybe its a good idea, we will find out from the UK.

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