Statement of Intent 2009-2012

Strategic Direction

The overall goal of Government as a whole is to grow the New Zealand economy in order to deliver greater prosperity, security and opportunities for all New Zealanders. Within this context, and against the backdrop of the challenging economic conditions the country as a whole is currently facing, and the heightened risks to Māori arising from those conditions, the Minister and Associate Minister of Māori Affairs have agreed a revised set of priorities for the immediate and near term future. These priorities reflect their shared commitment, as articulated in their respective policy manifestos, to the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand.

Accordingly, our outcome framework has evolved to reflect those shared priorities. The overall outcome pursued by the Ministry is a reflection of key dimensions of the Treaty of Waitangi: Tino Rangatiratanga and Whānau Ora. When viewed from the perspective of a government agency with a core role as principal adviser on Crown-Māori relationships, Tino Rangatiratanga is expressly provided for in the Treaty and through the interpretations of the Waitangi Tribunal and Courts is required to be actively protected by the Crown as part of the ‘essential bargain’ through which the Crown acquired the authority to govern. Active protection extends beyond the Article 2 dimensions to which it is specifically ascribed, to all matters which Māori consider to be important to their development, quality of life and culture.

Whānau Ora has different meanings for different people and collectives, depending on their particular circumstances and priorities, and the environment in which they conduct their lives. Whānau ora is descriptive of a state where the combined cultural, spiritual, social and economic wellbeing of Māori people, and the kinship and other collectives to which they belong, interact in a manner which optimises their overall wellbeing according to their own preferences and norms. Conversely, and more challenging from a policy and performance measurement perspective (which have typically been premised on individual entitlements, interventions and benefits), Whānau Ora also encapsulates how the wellbeing of the collective provides sustenance, and discharges its responsibilities, to its individual members.

The key outcomes and intermediate outcomes to support the pursuit of the protection of Māori rights to exercise Tino Rangatiratanga and achieve Whānau Ora thus reflect a contribution to that end outcome, rather than its totality. As such, and as conditions and achievements change over time, the description of priority outcomes to support Tino Rangatiratanga and Whānau Ora will similarly change, with the overall aim of continuing to optimally position Māori in the immediate, near and long term futures.

The key and intermediate outcomes prioritised to support Tino Rangatiratanga and Whānau Ora signal an immediate and urgent emphasis on supporting and maintaining Māori social and economic wellbeing during the current economic downturn, without losing sight of the need for that support to be future focused and to build on the inherent cultural strengths of Māori people and communities. Underpinning these priorities is a focus on the constitutional basis of the Treaty of Waitangi as New Zealand’s founding document, and securing and enhancing the rights and interests, and reciprocal obligations, of whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori as tangata whenua, and as partners in the Treaty.

The diagram on page 13 provides an overview of our revised outcome framework.

Contributing to Government’s objectives, including key outcomes for Māori, is the responsibility of every agency of state. All New Zealanders want to have good health, be well educated, live in a healthy environment, have adequate housing, have access to meaningful employment, feel secure, have their culture accessible and utilised by themselves and valued by others, and enjoy a state of well being and have the knowledge and capacity to participate fully in society. Our interest in all of these areas is to work closely with agencies that have the primary responsibility for these outcomes to ensure that outcomes for Māori are equitable, and enable them to fulfil their aspirations and realise their own potential.

Our policy approach recognises that Māori people are the key catalyst for achieving exceptional life quality for themselves, their whānau, and their other communities of interest, and focuses on developing and implementing public policy in ways that reflect the strengths and aspirations of Māori people. In developing public policy, we are moderated by kaupapa Māori principles to ensure that our advice is anchored in not just what is important to Māori, but also is developed in ways that are respectful of and appropriate to Māori.

Figure 1: Outcome Framework