April 21, 2020
Dr Rawiri Taonui | Māori COVID Plan is no plan at all
Māori COVID Plan is no plan at all
The Ministry of Health has released its long-awaited Initial COVID-19 Māori Response Action Plan. The plan is no plan at all.
The document includes text largely drawn from parent and parallel documents. There is a mix of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and health paradigms, some of which are repeated more than once and in different styles and with different combinations with other values. To the experienced reader, these are at once both comprehensive and incomprehensible, complex and confusing, and the clear result of a cut-and-paste exercise aimed at deflecting criticism and inquiry and achieving tick-box rather than real Treaty compliance.
There are multiple objectives, goals and activities. These mainly drawn from existing activities within the Ministry rather than derived from consultation and co-design with Māori. Many can be met by handing someone a pamphlet. In an overall way, this falls well short of the Treaty goals promoting Māori leadership and active Māori participation and partnership with Māori in policy framing and decision making as outlined in the Ministry’s He Korowai Oranga Strategy, and by coincidence and convenience, these are the only principles and values not articulated in the COVID-19 plan.
A list of Māori from a reference group is named at the head of the document. This implies they have authored the document. More likely they were part of some brief consultation, which with the real authors from inside the Ministry not named, presents a facade of consultation and consent that does not exist.
With the guidelines outlining the priority of Māori input into planning at local, regional and national levels laid down in the New Zealand Influenza Pandemic Plan three years ago, the exclusion of the recognised expertise and leadership of Te Whakakaupapa Urutā the National Pandemic Response Group and the National Iwi Chairs Forum – Pandemic Response Group, coupled with the late cobbling together of the plan in the third week of an Alert Level 4 is an indictment on the leadership of the Ministry of Health.
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