Skip to main content

Disparities in Maori health

 |  Buddy Mikaere  | 
Trevor Ammundsen’s Through the Portal contribution of 5 March entirely misses the point as to why Maori are so upset by the dismantling of the Maori Health Authority.

His inference that Maori leadership is on both sides of the debate is also ill-considered. Yes, you would expect the Greens, Te Pati Maori, and Labour to defend their Maori Health Authority initiative. But to point to the “well-respected” Shane Reti (well respected? yeah? By whom?) Winston Peters and David Seymour as protagonists with Maori descent – and therefore making the argument Maori v Maori – ignores the political reality.

None of those three politicians could be said to represent the Maori viewpoint given that their voting demographic is largely old, stale and pale. I am yet to meet a Maori person who voted for any of them, especially Seymour.

Disparities in Maori health when compared with the wider community have been endemic almost since syphilis, measles, tuberculosis, and influenza arrived with the first colonisers, severely impacting a defenceless indigenous population.

It is eminently clear that the present health system, while struggling valiantly and despite the heroic efforts of our medical staff and specialists; has not made any significant inroads into that disparity. The numbers are clear. According to the Ministry of Health: In New Zealand, ethnic identity is an important dimension of health inequalities. Maori health status is demonstrably poorer than other New Zealanders; actions to improve Maori health also recognise Treaty of Waitangi obligations of the Crown. (

So perhaps it was a question of perspective, and a new administrative approach which might better suit our ability to deal with that disparity. That was the logic behind the establishment of the Authority so blithely dismissed by Ammundsen.

Marama Davidson of the Greens is quite right to point to the Treaty breach committed by the Government’s scrapping of the Authority.

Ammundsen’s assertion that this Government action is just government department consolidation and cost saving shows an appalling ignorance of the underlying health issues not to mention the applicable Treaty principles. The principle of mutual benefit springs to mind immediately. Where is the mutual benefit to the Government’s Maori Treaty partner in all this?

I find it interesting that Ammundsen concludes with the pithy thought that progress comes from co-operation, which comes from communication which involves listening. Ranting is not part of the equation. Having read his right-wing rant, I couldn’t agree more.

Recent Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Alice Thru The Looking Glass?

Inside out, upside down, and basically incomprehensible; comparable perhaps to going down the rabbit hole with Alice…………. A fair description of TCDC’s proposed Esplanade Project? Absolutely fascinating how 12million+ of our hard-earned ratepayer dollars has been  applied to a project that was a…
Letters to the editor


While on occasion offering sensible commentary on local governance issues, Dal Minogue thoroughly embarrassed himself (and The Informer) with his vicious remarks personally attacking long-time local environmental advocate John Veysey (The Informer April 9). Minogue’s nasty, juvenile, and defamat…
Letters to the editor


There’s got to be a way to effectively object to the consent request by DOC in last weeks issue on page 31. I feel like getting together an Objector’s Petition. This is about the relocation of the Mercury Bay Boating Clubhouse from its current site to being adjacent to the Dundas Street Boat Ram…
Letters to the editor


Just a few days ago, I received a notice informing me that the next day the council in its wisdom has decided to chip seal our road. For a council that cries poor in the justification for substantial rate rises, it seems to be a complete and utter waste of money. Our particular road is a cul de …
Letters to the editor


To all users of the Dundas Street boat ramp, remember that when the Marina was built, it was required to build a boat ramp and parking for the community free of any charge to use. When it is busy, there is no room to park all the vehicles and trailers on the existing site and you have been using…
Letters to the editor

Esplanade not our pet project or brainchild.

We are writing in response to Ady Cole-Ewen’s article, Esplanade – Tsunami Sirens, published 9 April 2024. The author writes “It is reported that the Esplanade’s “nice-to-have” upgrade is the brainchild and pet project of Councillors, Deli Connell and Rekha Giri Percival…” For the record this pr…
Letters to the editor

MORE POETRY FROM JOHN (received before dal minogue’s sent in his poetic response)

Who’s crying? Who’s given up on the fray and who’s been brought down and who’s making nonsense of the world today? Lies been raining down upon us. Life’s value has took a dive. But for those of you who see a dismal future, just remember you’re still alive. You’re still alive, you’re still al…
Letters to the editor

More disinformation

The guest editorial (Through the Portal) on EVs by Trevor Ammundsen is full of misinformation. EVs in New Zealand are not fossil fuel-powered. About 85% of our electricity is generated without any use of fossil fuels, and with several significant solar farms and further wind farms coming online,…
Letters to the editor

Kubota Fishing Competition

Well I hope now all of you who supported the MBGFC Kubota fishing competition are revelling in the millions of dollars, it supposedly brought to our once ‘sleepy little east coast fishing village’. We are now known on the world stage as the largest wild animal competition hunting field on the pla…
Letters to the editor


A letter to the editor in The Informer Issue 19 March, cited some information in a Newsroom article that was wrong, and which Newsroom has since corrected. The Informer letter to the editor was written by Meg Beston (Not TCDC’s Fault, 19 March issue) and cited Council debt figures published in a…