Maori cancer survival rates are way behind other groups and something has to be done about it, the Maori Party says.
A University of Otago study released on Wednesday shows more people are surviving cancer but Maori are about 29 per cent more likely to die after being diagnosed than other ethnic groups.
Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia, an associate health minister, says the gap is significant.
"It's about injustice - inequalities occur when Maori don't get screened or referred to treatment early enough," she said.
"Increasing Maori participation in cancer screening is an important way to address cancer inequalities and more needs to be done."
Mrs Turia says Ministry of Health statistics show lung cancer is the most common form of the disease among Maori, and accounted for a third of all Maori cancer deaths in 2008.
"The risk of developing lung cancer is twice as high for Maori men and three times as high for Maori women," she said.
Mrs Turia is in charge of the government's anti-smoking programme and says she's going to speed up the development of new legislation.