Aotearoa/New Zealand’s new government is being accused of sparking a decline in race relations following a series of reforms targeting Māori and Pasifika people.

Among repealing the country’s world leading tobacco ban, the new conservative government led by Christopher Luxon disbanded the Māori health service, and have reduced the use of te reo Māori (the Māori language) in government departments.

Coalition Party ACT New Zealand, has also proposed the idea of a referendum on the country’s treaty of Waitangi, the nations founding document which underpins Māori sovereignty.

Māori Party co-leader and member for Te Tai Hauāuru Debbie Ngarewa-Packer has told the ABC the government is repealing policies designed to Improve the lives of Māori and Pasifika people.

“What we have seen is the government taking us into a decline like we’ve never seen in race relations, certainly not since the earliest stages of colonisation.

It knows that Maori die more of lung cancer, but it has taken away the policy to stop that. It knows that Maori are dying earlier, but it’s taken away the Maori Health Authority.

It knows that our Maori language is at risk, but it has now removed the language from all government departments.”

Head of the Māori primary health organisation Lady Tureiti Moxon spoke to Radio New Zealand last week.

She pushed back against the government’s decision to disband Māori led health services.

“By Māori for Māori solutions to addressing these issues for ourselves is what is needed.

It’s important that the government upholds the Treaty partnership and its obligations or otherwise, this is another breach of our rights to participate in our own health and wellbeing.”

Ms Moxon says the policies gave Māori people a real chance at addressing disadvantage.

“Given the number of premature deaths from preventative diseases, this was an empowered solution to address the inequities of the health system and adverse outcomes for Māori in Aotearoa.”

Image Credit (AAP Image/Ben Mckay)