Methodology for Estimating the Underfunding of Māori Primary Health Care

Sapere Research Group were asked by the claimants to respond to the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendation that a methodology be developed to measure the underfunding of Māori PHOs and providers. The Tribunal provides context to its recommendation:

We recognise that there is a compensatory aspect to this process, in that it responds to acknowledged historical underfunding. However, we make no recommendations at this stage as to the final destination of any such compensation… … Our initial thinking is that, if a final sum can be agreed upon, first, it could be used in part to compensate those Māori primary health organisations and providers still in existence and, secondly, it could be future-focused, perhaps with a view to supporting the development of additional Māori primary health organisations and providers.

While the recommendation is specifically to develop a methodology, we necessarily have applied the methodologies we recommend as a proof of concept in order to ensure that they work and are fit for purpose. We therefore present both methods and tentative results. The scope of services we consider is that of Māori primary health care services providing care to Māori whānau – by Māori for Māori, accessible to all. However, some of the issues identified in the analysis apply to funding for Māori wherever they may be receiving services.


Dr Tom Love

Tom specialises in health economics and primary health care.

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David Moore

David advises on complex strategy, public policy and commercial issues.

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Ashley Milkop

Ashley specialises in quantitative analysis and complex data sets.

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Lockie Woon

Lockie has a Master of Economics from the University of Otago.

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Michael Young

Michael specialises in data, financial and economic analysis.

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Corina Comendant

Corina is experienced in environmental research and economic reform.

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