Christopher Luxon won't commit to Māori health outcome target

Christopher Luxon won't commit to any Māori health outcome targets but admitted he's "really concerned" about their lagging life expectancy. 

Data from Statistics New Zealand for the years between 2017-2019 showed life expectancy was 80 years for males and 83.5 years for females. 

When this is broken down by ethnicity, European or other males are 81 years, while European or other females are 84.5 years.

The stats aren't as good for Māori and Pacific, actually, it's quite a big drop with Māori men currently likely to die 7.6 years earlier than their European counterparts. 

Māori males are expected to live for 73.4 years while Māori female is 77.1 years. For Pacific males, it's 75.4 years and for Pacific females, it's 79 years. 

The National Party leader told AM on Wednesday New Zealand needs to focus on Māori health outcomes.

"What we really have to then work on is Māori health outcomes and make sure that we can make great progress on that," Luxon told AM co-host Ryan Bridge. 

"I just think mixing our superannuation system where we have to have a retirement age across the country, you don't fiddle with that. What you need to do is make really great progress on Māori health outcomes." 

But Luxon admitted Māori and Pacific life expectancy is something he is "really concerned about".

"This Government over the last five years, there's been no improvement in health outcomes for all New Zealanders and when you look at the next five years, even under the Māori Health Authority, they're saying there won't be a single improved health outcome for Māori for another five years," he said. 

"That's a decade where we actually haven't had any improved health outcomes. So that's a different situation where we should be really determined and the health portfolio is to make progress on."

When pressed by Bridge about what his target would be for life expectancy for Māori and Pacifika under a National Government, Luxon wouldn't commit to one. 

"Well, our target has to be able to close the gap and to be able to have Māori health outcomes the same as the rest of the population," he said.

But when Bridge continued to press Luxon for a target and by when, the National Party said: "as fast as we possibly can. I can't give you a number today".  

"I am ruthlessly obsessed with outcomes, I care less about how they're delivered but I actually want them delivered very, very strongly," he said.

Watch the full interview with Christopher Luxon above.