Brash questions Maori board in health revamp

How exactly would the removal of 12 district health boards and the creation of a Maori health authority improved Maori health outcomes, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash asked today.

A two-year long review has proposed an overhaul of the health system which includes:

  • A new health authority, Health NZ, to take control of the health system.
  • A reduction in the number of district health boards, from 20 to between 8 and 12, in the next five years.
  • Ending elections for DHB members and making them all Government-appointed.
  • A Maori health authority to sit alongside Health NZ and the Ministry of Health.

The executive summary asserts that “the fact that Maori health outcomes are significantly worse than those for other New Zealanders represents a failure of the health and disability system and does not reflect te Tiriti commitments”.

“Time will tell whether tinkering with the system and paying lip service to the non-existing Treaty partnership would make a blind bit of difference to Maori health outcomes”, Dr Brash said.

“If too many boards formed part of the problem, how will retaining eight boards while adding a further race-based board eliminate the problem?” he said

For decades, New Zealand healthcare has treated Maori patients under the mantle of “cultural safety” as if they belonged to a different species and it appears that Maori health outcomes have worsened over that time,” he said.

“The proposed Maori health authority appears to be there merely to tick the politically correct “diversity” or “Treaty partnership” box,” Dr Brash said.