Fuseworks Media

Tribunal hearing on Te Aka Whai Ora must go ahead – PSA

Bypassing a Waitangi Tribunal hearing that challenges the closure of Te Aka Whai Ora and its work would show a lack of credibility and accountability from the Government, said the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

Stuff reports the Government may introduce its legislation to Parliament before the first hearing, taking the issue out of the Tribunal’s jurisdiction.

“We applaud Lady Tureiti Moxon and Janice Kuka’s work to bring this to the Tribunal,” said PSA’s Te Kaihautū Māori, Janice Panoho. “Te Aka Whai Ora must be protected, and this hearing must go ahead.”

Panoho said introducing the Bill before the hearing would dismiss Māori voices. “It would be a sign of extremely bad faith. At Waitangi, the Government said it wanted to work with Iwi. The Government should honour that instead of trying to sneak legislation past a valid legal challenge.”

Lady Moxon and Kuka brought the claim to the Tribunal on behalf of governors, managers, staff and Māori supported by Māori-owned primary health organisations.

The PSA joins them, and others across the breadth of the health system, saying that Te Aka Whai Ora is essential to Māori-led change that delivers for Māori health.

“We need a truly Māori-led agency to deliver change,” said Panoho. “Te Aka Whai Ora distributes resources to hapū and iwi and brings together Māori expertise to design Māori services. It is the result of generations of evidence and hard-won progress.”

The PSA represents workers at Te Aka Whai Ora and across the health system, including kaitohutohu tangata, kaitautawhi – waka whanake, kaumātua and kuia, occupational therapists, dietitians, hospital dental assistants, mental health and addictions professionals, and data analysts.

“Whakarongo mai ki te Iwi Māori,” said Panoho. “Listen to Iwi Māori: Te Aka Whai Ora must stay.”