The Government is facing fresh legal action over the scrapping of the Māori Health Authority.

A group of Māori health providers are challenging the decision at the High Court, seeking a precedent-setting declaration of inconsistency against the Treaty of Waitangi.

“We disagree with the way Te Aka Whaiora was disestablished,” said Chris Tooley, chief executive of Te Puna Ora o Mataatua.

“Te Aka Whaiora was a once-in-a-generation, transformative entitiy, born out of 40 years of struggle.”

Te Puna Ora o Mataatua was taking the legal action alongside Ngāti Hine Health Trust, Te Kohao Health and Papakura Marae.

They allege breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and The Bill of Rights Act.

“To disregard and disestablish that transformative kaupapa, without any involvement of Māori, is a clear breach of Te Tiriti,” said Tooley.

The courts have never made a declaration of inconsistency against the Treaty of Waitangi before.

Law lecturer Carwyn Jones said if the plaintiffs succeeded, it could give Māori another legal avenue to challenge future policies.

“It would be a recognition that te tiriti does reflect legal rights,” he said.

“There may be opportunities, for example, in a judicial review of a ministerial decision to recognise that those legal rights and interests must be considered.”

The Māori Health Authority directly commissioned Māori health services and monitored the performance of the public health system.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said it was disestablished in February for good reason.

“They’re free to do what they want to do, we’ve already made a decision as a Government to dispand the Māori Health Authority,” he said.

“There are disparities across the system but that’s not the way to deliver those improved outcomes.”

He said the Government was committed to reducing health inequities.