Waatea News Column: What does Chris Luxon see when he thinks ‘Māori Health Authority’?

Hand on heart, I’m not sure Chris Luxon understands what the Māori Health Authority is.

He keeps saying he doesn’t support a ‘separate’ health system and that all the Māori Health Authority will do is create more bureaucracy.

The way Chris sells it, the ‘Māori Health Authority’ would be a separate hospital, with a perpetual Haka and powhiri out front that only serves Māori while turning away Pakeha. He seems to envisage a premium health service for Māori while everyone else gets a second class system.

The reality of course is far less exciting.

All the Māori Health Authority will do is generate a new way for decisions to be made on spending health dollars for Māori so that Māori health can be prioritized because the current model doesn’t do that!

The extraordinary lack of progress in Māori health demands new approaches, the Māori Health Authority is a solution to this culture of failure and the incredible delays and problems of Public Health to be able to reach out to the Māori community for Covid vaccinations highlight this powerfully.

To reframe all of this as separatism so as to gain a reactionary political vote in the wake of Māori Health providers stepping up in a way Pakeha Public Health couldn’t during the pandemic is as insulting as it is offensive.

The health of our indiginous people shouldn’t be a political football and we should be open to new pragmatic processes where the health of Māori is the only measure.

To sabotage that for the votes of the majority is an ugly kind of politics.

First published on Waatea News.

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