Ngati Porou Hauora: The wider economic benefits of providing health services

The economic contribution of Ngati Porou Hauora to the East Coast/Gisborne region is estimated to be worth almost $14 million and the equivalent of 152 full-time jobs says a new report launched 25 November 2015 at Te Tini o Porou in Gisborne.

Ngati Porou Hauora major contributer to regional economy says new report

This comes on top of the release of the latest quarterly results from the Ministry of Health measuring the performance of the 36 Primary Health Organisations around the country.  Ngati Porou Hauora is the only provider that is in the top 5 group of providers for all priority areas set and measured by the government.

Research for the report was conducted by BERL, an independent business and economic research consultancy. Earlier this year Ngati Porou Hauora commissioned the company to explore the wider economic impact and benefits the Iwi health service has upon the local economy and community. The findings of this research were presented at the launch by one of the report’s principle authors, BERL Chief Economist, Dr Ganesh Nana.

Dr Nana says the presence of Ngati Porou Hauora in the Gisborne district generated significant economic activity and expenditure in the local economy.

“This occured through Ngati Porou Hauora expenditure incurred in operating as a health service provider, and through their staff spending and saving their income,” he said.

The Report found that in 2014, Ngati Porou Hauora directly generated $8.2 million in GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the Gisborne district and created full time employment for 101 people. An additional $5.5 million in GDP and 51 full time jobs were also created by Ngati Porou Hauora through activities which created a ‘multiplier impact’ on the local economy. In total Ngati Porou Hauora generated $13.7 million in GDP for the region, and employment for 152 Full-Time Equivalents (FTES). The report also found that Ngati Porou Hauora employed approximately 8% of the health sector workforce in the region and generated approximately eight 8% of the GDP from this sector.

In his presentation Dr Nana noted the scope of their analysis did not include the contribution Ngati Porou Hauora made in terms of the health and well-being of whanau, and the flow on economic benefits from providing access to free health services to remote, rural areas such as the East Coast.

“Although the findings of our report show that Ngati Porou Hauora created a financial benefit of $14 million to the region, if we were to expand on our analysis we would find that these numbers are quite conservative. For example if we were to factor in community oriented outcomes like improved health status and reduced hospitalisation, we could show the direct economic benefits for whanau, employers and tax payers. There are also travel and time savings created by having Ngati Porou Hauora operate on the Coast. If they weren’t, whanau would have to travel to Gisborne to access health services, which for some would be a three hour journey.”

Dr Nana said during the presentation that the benefits outlined in the report should be seen “not just in terms of dollars and cents”.

He said, “Ngati Porou Hauora provides many health benefits for the whanau living in those communities. Without access to those services, this would have an impact on the whole region. A healthy economy needs healthy workers and a healthy community to engage and contribute.”

Teepa Wawatai, Chairperson of Ngati Porou Hauora says, “The findings of the report backs up international research which shows the pivotal role indigenous health services play in indigenous economic development. Particularly in rural and provincial areas, where economic growth is limited. There is also international recognition that health as an industry is a major employer and provides pathways into tertiary study that, in turn, has some of the highest levels of return on investment for those students."

"Local industries also benefit, both in terms of having a consumer of supplies and business services, and in having locally accessible health services for their employees – of particular relevance to forestry and agricultural businesses, with workers at higher risk of injury on the job. Furthermore, there is an important symbolic value to larger institutions and employers, such as NPH, maintaining a positive presence in rural areas that encourages people to return to live there.”

“Ngati Porou Hauora welcomes the findings of the BERL report and we would like to thank Te Puni Kokiri & JR McKenzie Trust for funding its research. Ngati Porou Hauora has turned a corner from where we were three years ago, and recently we celebrated the distinction of being the only Primary Health Organisation (PHO) in the country to feature in the top 5 of three key categories in a recent national performance survey. The survey indicates how PHOs are performing to meet health targets set by the Ministry of Health. We featured in the top 5 in the categories of : Increased Immunisation, Better help for Smokers to Quit and More Heart and Diabetes checks. Diabetes, Heart Disease and Smoking related illnesses are the main things that cut short the lives of our people and also mean that they suffer more en-route to an early death.”