National says the government's approach to Māori policy outcomes lacks focus.

The opposition cited the government's decision to axe public targets to monitor areas like education, unemployment and Māori youth offending.

National’s Todd Muller claims the targets showed its policies were working,

“When we came into office in 2008, Māori were leaving school about half of them just on 50% with no NCEA qualifications. We said that it had to be a focus, we put it in a better public service target and now that's at 75%.”

He also attributes success to setting targets.

“Firstly, the debate here is around these, what we call, better public service targets, and we hold the view that if you actually want to change the conditions for people you need to actually have a very explicit target that you want to drive towards.”

But Kelvin Davis says he's not seeing the gains coming out of that.

“Ahakoa āna whakapae e pai ake ana ngā āhuatanga kei roto i ngā kura mō ā tātou rangatahi Māori e mōhio ana tātou te tini o rātou horekau e whiwhi mahi ana, horekau e whai oranga ana, te tini o rātou e whakamate ana i a rātou anō.”

However, looking at some recent statistics - it's a different story.

The amount of unemployed Māori has decreased to 9%, compared to 2016 when 11% of Māori were unemployed.

But the way Davis sees it; Māori youth are still the underdog.

“E kitea ana tātou i roto i te tini o ngā Māori e kore mahi ana, te tini o ngā Māori e haere ana ki rō whare herehere, nā reira ahakoa tēnā e kite ana mātou horekau ngā hua e puta ana ki ngā hapori.”

And it appears it's a big issue to the Prime Minister.

“The incarceration of the Māori people, disproportionate to everyone else. That is the distance between us. And so long as that exists, we have failed in our partnership.”

But Muller says that by working with Māori communities there's been a decrease in Māori youth offending.

“We set up a rangatahi youth court system where the disciplines that apply to young offenders were still there, but the conversations occurred in marae with an understanding of tikanga and there is a reduction of Māori youth offending of people who've been through the rangatahi system by close to 15%.

Should the government set targets like National did?

Time will tell until the fruits of Labour's work become evident.