Govt reinforces commitment to Māori health

Minister of Health Dr Shane Reti says he’s encouraged by a significant meeting with Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards in Christchurch today, saying the gathering heralds a new way forward to achieving improved outcomes for Māori health.

Dr Reti says he welcomed the opportunity to speak with, and listen to, leaders from Iwi-Māori Partnership Boards (IMPB) from around the country as the Government charts a new direction following the disestablishment of Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori Health Authority.

“Today’s discussion with the leaders had a specific focus on key areas such as the impact of the recent legislative changes, and role of the Hauora Māori Advisory Committee which I reinforced will be retained and powered up,” Dr Reti says.

“I see the Committee as a key independent Māori advisor to me, as the Minister of Health.  This committee will play a leading role in overseeing system-wide performance, providing insights and monitoring to improve how the system improves Māori health outcomes.

“However, as the ones closer to homes and hapori and with specific legislative functions, IMPBs also have a big role – they’re the ones best positioned to understand and represent the specific needs of their communities.

“This Government will do what Pae Ora and the previous government would not. IMPBs will be facilitated to do more, including playing an important role in monitoring how well health care and services are working at the local level in support of better outcomes for whānau and communities.

“I see the functions of both the IMPB and the Hauora Māori Advisory Committee as complementary to each other, to achieve significantly improved health outcomes for Māori.

“We also discussed future ways of working with Health New Zealand, the pause on locality planning, the future of commissioning services, and the timing of changes to Hauora Māori contracts.

“In that space, and to ensure continuity to the Hauora Māori provider network, existing contracts will be rolled over for 1-year.

>“Budget 22 contracts up for renewal this year will also be extended for 1-year.

“Given that breathing space, in the next financial year, I expect IMPBs to continue to prepare for readiness toward the financial year 2025/26.

“While it’s natural for there to be uncertainty as functions transfer from one agency to another, I also stressed that I expect Health NZ and Ministry of Health officials to ensure that this transfer happens with minimal disruption to kaimahi, contract holders and IMPBs.

“I came away encouraged by the passion and dedication the IMPB leaders have to support Māori health outcomes, and outcomes for all New Zealanders,” Dr Reti says.