The Aotearoa New Zealand Government vision for health and social care is equity for all. Health equity is achieved when everyone has a fair opportunity to achieve their full health potential.
The Ministry of Health defines equity as follows:
In Aotearoa New Zealand, people have differences in health that are not only avoidable but unfair and unjust. Equity recognises different people with different levels of advantage require different approaches and resources to get equitable health outcomes.
In New Zealand, Māori and Pasifika peoples are among those who experience the most disadvantage and are therefore identified by the Ministry of Health as high priority populations for addressing health equity (Ministry of Health, 2019). Under Te Tiriti o Waitangi Māori have rights to have their health protected. For Pasifika peoples, the Ministry of Health has set a clear agenda to support Pasifika health and wellbeing in Ola Manuia: Pacific Health and Wellbeing Action Plan 2020–2025 (Ministry of Health 2020).
Developing and strengthening effective integrated primary and community health and social services is one strategy for addressing inequity. It is intended that Māori and Pasifika peoples will experience better health outcomes when services are more easily accessed, better connected and address social and cultural determinants of health – features which are central to an integrated approach.
When applying an equity lens, provision of an integrated approach requires meaningful engagement with Māori and Pasifika (and other minority and/or disadvantaged communities) to understand their aspirations, worldviews and needs. It also requires a focus on developing the workforce to ensure culturally safe practice, elimination of racism and discrimination, and integration of cultural values, practices and concepts into health care.
Guidance on key actions to achieve equitable health care for Māori for health organisations (such as DHBs, PHOs and other health providers), health workers (such as doctors, nurses and community health workers) and the health system (such as Ministry of Health) is outlined in: Equity of Health Care for Māori: A framework.