3 Apr 2019

Māori statistics benchmark to 'hold the government to account' - Māori Council

7:48 pm on 3 April 2019

The Māori Council will measure government outcomes for Māori and compare them year on year, and work with the Crown to ensure it is making improvements, executive director Matthew Tukaki says.

Suicide Prevention Australia and National Māori Authority chairman Matthew Tukaki.

Suicide Prevention Australia and National Māori Authority chairman Matthew Tukaki. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Mr Tukaki said it was time to hold the government to account for how well it was doing for Māori across the board, and he had been requesting Māori statistics from various agencies through the Official Information Act to set a benchmark.

"I have been slowly collecting all that data to give us the first foothold into what we need to hold the government account for," he said.

For example, 70.1 percent of the 220 children abused in the care of Oranga Tamariki were Māori, he said.

"That's the benchmark. If they go above that, we have a massive problem."

Mr Tukaki said the council would measure the data annually and report back on its findings, with the help of Massey University, every December.

He said the goal was to measure any progress or otherwise, and work alongside the government to find solutions.

"It is not about holding the government to account and then just giving them a whack if they are not performing. It is about then working in direct partnership with the Crown as Treaty partners to effect that change."

He said a key focus was monitoring the government's performance in respect of the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

New Zealand announced its support of the declaration in 2010. It has 46 articles touching on all aspects of indigenous rights including whānau, children, culture and community.

"Declarations such as this only have meaning if we are able to measure a nation state's performance against the various articles," Mr Tukaki said.

"In this case we already know what needs to be measured - such as a reduction in the incarceration rates, reductions in the number of Māori children in state care and so on - so development [of] benchmarks and measuring them annually is where we need to be."

The announcement came just days after Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the government would develop a plan of action to drive and measure New Zealand's progress on the same declaration.

"The declaration plan will identify specific actions that can make real progress on the aspirations of Māori as the tangata whenua of Aotearoa," she said.

The Minister will appoint a technical working group, and a plan will be developed this year with engagement from Māori.

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