Institutional Racism in Public Health Contracting: Findings of a Nationwide Survey From New Zealand

Came, H
Doole, C
McKenna, B
McCreanor, T
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Journal Article
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Public institutions within New Zealand have long been accused of mono-culturalism and institutional racism. This study sought to identify inconsistencies and bias by comparing government funded contracting processes for M aori public health providers (n ¼ 60) with those of generic providers (n ¼ 90). Qualitative and quantitative data were collected (November 2014eMay 2015), through a nationwide telephone survey of public health providers, achieving a 75% response rate. Descriptive statistical analyses were applied to quantitative responses and an inductive approach was taken to analyse data from open-ended responses in the survey domains of relationships with portfolio contract managers, contracting and funding. The quantitative data showed four sites of statistically significant variation: length of contracts, intensity of monitoring, compliance costs and frequency of auditing. Non-significant data involved access to discretionary funding and cost of living adjustments, the frequency of monitoring, access to Crown (government) funders and representation on advisory groups. The qualitative material showed disparate provider experiences, dependent on individual portfolio managers, with nuanced differences between generic and M aori providers’ experiences. This study showed that monitoring government performance through a nationwide survey was an innovative way to identify sites of institutional racism. In a policy context where health equity is a key directive to the health sector, this study suggests there is scope for New Zealand health funders to improve their contracting practices.

Institutional racism; Health equity; Māori; New Zealand; Public health; Māori providers; Contracting; Te Tiriti o Waitangi; Treaty of Waitangi
Social Science & Medicine, Volume 199, February 2018, Pages 132-139.
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