Associate Minister of Health, Peeni Henare, has welcomed the report into the progress of Te Aka Whai Ora, published today.
“The Minister of Health and I wanted to better understand the early progress Te Aka Whai Ora made against Ministerial and Cabinet expectations,” Mr Henare said.
“This is a standard monitoring method, particularly when a new agency is involved, so we can ensure New Zealanders are being best served by the public health system.”
He said the report identifies a number of important milestones to recognise, as well as areas for improvement.
“I thank the Hauora Māori Advisory Committee for undertaking this report at such a key time in the health system reform process.”
“The Government established Te Aka Whai Ora under the Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Act 2022 to strengthen Māori leadership in the health system and initiate a serious change in the health system’s performance for Māori. Te Aka Whai Ora has made some good progress in challenging circumstances.
“The uncomfortable fact is that the current deeply entrenched disparities for Māori in the health system are decades in the making and will take more than a year to fix.
”I don’t think anyone doubts that there are significant underlying equity issues continuing to prevent Māori from accessing quality health care, especially in rural areas, which is why Te Aka Whai Ora will ensure Māori have a strong, independent voice at the provider level,” Minister Henare said.
A key delivery for Te Aka Whai Ora has been establishing 15 Iwi Māori Partnership Boards to provide key insights, direction and advice to government agencies on the provision of health services to Māori communities.
“I have supported the establishment of Te Aka Whai Ora mai rāno (from the beginning) as it was the right thing to do, then and now,” the Minister said.
“I am encouraging the Board and Chief Executive to focus on ways to improve how the health system serves Māori. The Committee’s report is a helpful way to confirm those priority areas.
“I would also note that Te Aka Whai Ora played a critical role in the development of the recently released Pae Tū –Hauora Māori Strategy.
“I’m pleased that the report recognised the support Te Aka Whai Ora provided local communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle in Te Tai Rāwhiti and flooding in Tāmaki Makaurau.
“I have sought and received assurance from the Board Chair that Te Aka Whai Ora will continue to demonstrate progress to retain the confidence of the health sector, the Government, and most of all, whānau right across the motu who depend on the health system.
“I’ll be excited to see Te Aka Whai Ora’s positive impact on health outcomes for Māori as I continue to visit and learn from providers around Aotearoa New Zealand,” he said.
Read the report here.