6 Sep 2012

Call to stop under-funding services for Maori children

5:34 am on 6 September 2012

A Canadian advocate for indigenous children says governments around the world need to stop under-funding services for indigenous children, including Maori.

Cindy Blackstock is in New Zealand participating in the annual three-day Public Health Association Conference at Pipitea Marae in Wellington.

Dr Blackstock delivered a speech on Wednesday describing how a small organisation she's involved in has filed a human rights case against the Canadian government.

She describes herself as a first nation person who hails from Gitsan descent.

Dr Blackstock says the group alleges long-standing funding inequities in child welfare amounted to racial discrimination against First Nations children, which may serve as an example for New Zealand.

She says often when services are developed by communities such as Maori or Pasifika they're usually under-funded.

Dr Blackstock says in Canada, the government is required to treat everybody equally, which is not happening.

Governments must be held accountable, she says.