Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry
The Minister of Health, David Clark, has advised that an extension has been given for the report on the Mental Health and Addiction Inquiry back to Cabinet. It will now be delivered by 30 November. This is to recognise the 5,500 submissions were received on this topic. (Note the submissions are considered sensitive and are therefore not available for public purview.)
By way of background, the inquiry is broad in scope, and the terms of reference enable recommendations to be made across all structures within the health and the broader public sector. The inquiry is chaired by Professor Ron Paterson, and there are two Māori on the panel of six (Sir Mason Durie and Dean Rangihuna). This is a policy area of particular importance to Māori, as Māori are significantly over-represented in mental health service areas, and in suicide statistics. The terms of reference acknowledge this health inequality, and require the panel to consider this matter, and to also work in ways appropriate to Māori, and in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi.
Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care
The Minister for Internal Affairs, Tracey Martin, has put out a media statement indicating circa 500 people have expressed interest in giving evidence into the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historic Abuse in State Care. Fifteen staff are also apparently working with the Commissioner Sir Anand Satyanand in preparatory stages of the inquiry.
Yet what is missing from the media statement is any word on the appointment of other Royal Commission members – which is odd given this is such a significant inquiry, and it was announced over six months ago. That is, to date Māori input on this matter remains at zero – despite the draft terms of reference stating that, “a key focus of the Inquiry is to understand any differential impacts of abuse in state care for Māori”. Māori tamariki comprise over half of young people in State care, so the Government needs to appoint people to this Inquiry with a strong understanding of Māori care and abuse specific matters; and the sooner the better in our assessment.
Criminal Justice Sector Reforms – Further Consultation
The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, has announced that his advisory group for justice sector reforms will now hold a series of regional public consultation meetings. By way of background, this initiative is called, Hāpai i te Ora Tangata / Safe and Effective Justice, and commenced with a large national conference/hui in August. A key theme of the work programme is addressing and reducing Māori rates of criminal offending and reoffending; and as previously advised the working group has four Māori members: Quentin Hix, Tracey McIntosh, Carwyn Jones, and Julia Amua Whaipooti. The following two articles highlight new data relevant to this policy initiative.
Justice Sector Reforms Public Consultation Meetings.
|29 October||12:30pm – 3:30 pm||Timaru||Timaru Council Chambers|
|30 October||9:00am – 12:00pm||Christchurch||Aranui Library|
|5 November||1:00pm – 4:30pm||Tauranga||TBA|
|6 November||1:00pm – 4:00pm||Whangārei||Whangārei Central Library|
|13 November||1:00pm – 4:00pm||Tokoroa||Tokoroa Public Library|
|14 November||9:00am – 1:00pm||Te Kuiti||Te Kuiti Community Room|
|15 November||TBA||New Plymouth||TBA|
|17 November||9:00am – 11:00am||Palmerston North||Palmerston North City Library|
Homicide Victims Data Released
Last month the New Zealand Police published a report entitled Police Statistics on Homicide Victims in New Zealand 2007 – 2016: Summary of Statistics about Victims of Murder, Manslaughter, and Infanticide. The report showed between 2007 and 2016, 223 Māori were victims of homicide, which was 33% of all victims (686 in total). Māori males comprised 22% (154) of all victims and 69% of the total number of Māori victims. These statistics are a sad over-representation, given Māori comprise only 15% of the total population.
Injury Data Released
Last week Statistics New Zealand released injury data. There are two stand-out areas for Māori: injuries from assaults at 37 per 100,000 people, and injuries from motor vehicle accidents at 67 per 100,000. Both rates are significantly higher than for non-Māori. The overall injury data shows a similar rate of non-fatal but serious injuries (and a lower rate of Māori having falls).
 Falls are associated more frequently with elderly citizens and there are fewer Māori elderly than others, i.e. a life expectancy disparity of 7 years. This fact sheet does not probe such matters.