National | Jacinda Ardern

Aotearoa not passing 'partnership test' on Māori health - PM's Waitangi Day Speech

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says Māori deserve to live longer and healthier lives and Aotearoa is not currently passing the partnership test in this respect.

Ardern made the statement during her pre-recorded Waitangi Day speech this morning.

"As a Government we know we have a responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, and we know in many cases that can be our Māori communities.

"That is one of the reasons why we’ve established the Māori Health Authority and why it is so important to support and help turn around Māori wellbeing inequalities.

"We want all New Zealanders to live longer and healthier lives and that is why we are working hard to reform the health sector. Covid has shown we need a health sector that is responsive to community needs."

Ardern says there is an obligation "that you don’t die younger than everyone else in New Zealand because you are Māori" - and added that "And yet that is not the case."

She says this is an "obvious example of where we must do better, and where we are not passing the test of our partnership together."

The PM pointed to "the reality" that: "Māori die at twice the rate as non-Māori from cardiovascular disease, Māori tamariki have a mortality rate one-and-a-half times the rate found in non-Māori children, Māori are more likely to be diagnosed and die from cancer, and Māori die on average 7 years earlier than non-Māori."

Ardern says efforts to address this have been described by some as "separatist", however, this ignores reality.

"What we all want by and large for our people is the same. The same chance to fulfil our potential. To live decent lives. To make decisions for ourselves.

"How we get there will differ. That is partnership. That is building the bridge."