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Crown told to take responsibility for Maori health outcomes

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Monday, 1 July 2019, 12:00PM

An expert witness used in a damning Waitangi Tribunal report says the Crown must take responsibility for Maori health outcomes.

The Crown has been told to set up a stand-alone Maori health agency and consider compensation for failing to improve Maori health over the last 20 years.

The Waitangi Tribunal says in a report released today that the Crown has breached the Treaty.

It says it's failed to set up and run the primary health system in a way that's reduced the gap between Maori and non-Maori health outcomes.

Changes made in 2000 were meant to close this gap, but Maori life expectancy is still seven years below non-Maori.

Maori fare worse in nearly every area of healthcare, from cancer rates to child hospitalisations and access to health services.

The report is the first part of an ongoing inquiry into Maori health.

Otago University Professor Peter Crampton told Mike Hosking breaches of the Treaty can be by commission or omission.

"One of the duties of the Crown in terms of the Treaty of Waitangi is to treat all citizens fairly and equally, and naturally health outcomes falls into that category."

He says it is therefore Government responsibility to promote and protect the health of all citizens. 

Crampton says that the Tribunal looked through huge amounts of evidence to get to the bottom of why this disparity is the case, and he says it is a combination of things.

"They put quite a lot of emphasis on the primary health care policy which was released in 2001 by the then Labour Government, and it was highly aspirational that was intended to achieve fair outcomes for all groups in society." 

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