The Executive Director of the New Zealand Maori Council, Matthew Tukaki, has called the Otago University Medical School and the Universities Medical Associations that they need to “take a long hard look at themselves and the health inequities when it comes to Maori” in their flawed proposal to limit admissions to Maori and Pacific students.
The call comes after it was revealed after two papers were presented at a Medical Admissions Committee meeting last month suggesting a limit of 56 students a year through the Māori Entry Pathway, and just 20 students through the Pacific and low socioeconomic pathways.
“Lets take a reality check here, something they have obviously failed to do. Maori health inequity looms large from diabetes to cancer, from cardiovascular to a range of disease and more than that if we are to address them we need to build the Maori health workforce and sure as hell not put barriers in place to its growth.” Said to Tukaki
“Now I understand that Pro Vice Chancellor professor Paul Brunton - who helped create the documents - says these were simply discussion points and no formal proposal was made. But in my experience discussions points being pushed at that level end up being policy and by the way when the University was asked if these were to be implemented immediately the PR department didn’t dispute the claims made by a staff member – instead they used a few weasel words to try and make out the staff member got it wrong.” Tukaki said
“Well the whole thing smacks of some delusional nonsense and makes it clear that Otago University needs a reality check. In my view whatever they were thinking and whatever academic reason for it needs to be put firmly in the bin. The only thing they should be doing is working with Maori to further our health aspirations not putting road blocks up.” Tukaki said
Tukaki will be writing to the University for an explanation.