Māori feel betrayed by Coalition - Willie Jackson on scrapping of Māori Health Authority

  • 01/03/2024

Willie Jackson is accusing the Māori Development Minister of betraying his own people.  

This week, the Coalition moved to abolish the Māori Health Authority - rushing legislation through the House to tick off another aspect of its 100-day plan. 

Jackson was part of the last Labour Government that established the authority he said was heavily backed by Māoridom. 

"Why would we do this? Because our people have asked for it," Jackson said of the authority. 

"Every Māori expert... they've asked for it. They've said, 'We've used the system - we want our own set-up.' 

"Shame on Tama [Potaka] and his mates - in my view, they've betrayed Māoridom," Jackson said of the Māori Development Minister while the pair were on AM's Friday political panel. 

But Potaka said the rest of Cabinet, including Māori ministers, were united in their support of disestablishing the authority.  

"The main thing is that we're all concerned about the health of Māori and all New Zealanders... [it's] just the way we get around it in dealing with those challenges - dealing with those disparities - is where the action's at." 

Parliament voted to disestablish the authority on Tuesday. Sixty-eight voted in favour and 54 were against. 

Potaka noted the Coalition was simply implementing what the parties campaigned on. 

"Do what you say, say what you do and get on with the mahi," he said. "What I believe in is: there is an absolute need among many Māori communities - and others - to get better health targets and less bureaucracy. 

"What we're focused on is the needs of Māori." 

Watch the full video for more.