The Waitangi Tribunal has recently released Hauora: Report on Stage One of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry.

The report addresses two claims related to the primary health care system, which alleged that the Crown’s primary health care framework has failed to achieve Māori health equity. In particular, they raised issues with the role of, and resourcing for, Māori-led primary health organisations and health providers, and argued that Māori were not able to exercise tino rangatiratanga in the design and delivery of primary health care.

The Waitangi Tribunal found that the Crown has acted inconsistently with the Treaty of Waitangi by failing to design and administer the current primary health care sector to address persistent Māori health inequities, and by failing to give effect to the Treaty’s guarantee of tino rangatiratanga.

The Tribunal made two overarching recommendations for the Crown to:

  • ensure that all levels of the primary health care system recognise and provide for the Treaty of Waitangi and its principles; and
  • express the commitment to achieving health equity in legislation.

Other recommendations included investigating a stand-alone Māori health authority, assessing the level of underfunding of Māori primary health organisations and providers, strengthening accountability and monitoring mechanisms in the primary health sector and reviewing the Crown’s partnership arrangements across the sector.

Research for stage two of the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry is currently underway.

Rebecca Scoular-Sutton
Māori Issues Lawyer


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