1 Sep 2014

Turia's successor has 'big boots to fill'

7:21 am on 1 September 2014

The Maori Medical Practitioners Association says it is watching very closely to see who takes over the reins as Associate Minister of Health after the next election.

Tariana Turia

Tariana Turia Photo: RNZ

Te Ohu Rata O Aotearoa said it was worried about the growing disparity between Maori and non-Maori in the health system, and with no clear indication from political parties as to who was likely to replace Tariana Turia, Maori health could become a low priority.

Association chief executive Terina Moke said a significant number of Maori lived in poverty, and that affected their health.

Ms Moke said Mrs Turia tried to improve the well-being of tangata whenua and whoever is picked for the role of Associate Minister of Health must take a proactive approach to picking up on what Mrs Turia had done and extending and improving it.

She said that person would have "extremely big boots to fill", and the association was worried Maori health could come off the agenda.