National’s health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti has slammed the Government’s new policy which ranks ethnicities to determine who should get an operation first, calling it “offensive” and “wrong”.

As a medical doctor himself, Reti said race should have no place in surgical priorities and he is urging the Government to drop the criteria.

“While there has been historical inequity that has disadvantaged Maori and Pasifika people, the idea that any government would deliberately rank ethnicities for priority for surgery is offensive, wrong and should halt immediately.

“The way to improve Maori and Pasifika health is through better housing, education and addressing the cost of living, not by disadvantaging others.”

He said he would refuse to rank patients on their ethnicity.

“I completely side with surgeons who are alarmed and affronted by this priority tool implemented by Health New Zealand.”