On the Rural News program at midday on 1st June there was an announcement of a funding decision from the current government of $65 million for Maori Farmers & Growers to supercharge emissions reductions. Approximately $35 million of that funding will be allocated to setting up a Maori Climate Action Group.
Whilst I have no problem with a funding allocation for those purposes I believe that it is absolutely wrong that any government funding should be allocated based/restricted on race alone.
I am sure there will now be hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have read this far and are ready to call me out as just another racist white commentator. Well that is their prerogative but I would say to them before you start to rant about me, take a deep breath, think about this same announcement being restricted to white farmers only, and then tell me how racist that decision would be called out as.
If we are truthful we would have to say that both scenarios mentioned above are racist in their restrictions.
The definitions of both racism and racists (shown below) contain a reference to prejudice against an individual or community based on their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group.
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism by an individual, community, or institution against a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
prejudiced against or antagonistic towards a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically one that is a minority or marginalized.
I don’t have a problem with the government decision to fund this work on climate emissions reduction, I have serious problem with this being restricted to only Maori. This funding should be made available for this purpose and available for all to apply for not based on a particular race or ethnic group.
If Maori wish to get together separate from other groups then that is their right and it is great that they wish to undertake this work on climate emissions reduction as a group, but to allocate funding to them restricted by their race or ethnic grouping is totally wrong and undemocratic.
The current government has made many decisions recently that have been based on race with a classic example being the decision to set up a separate Maori Health Authority with the right of veto over the total health budget.
These decisions are an attack on democracy. Using the Health Authority as an example we are now going to allocate funding prioritised on the basis of race not clinical need. We have 15% of the population having the power of veto over funding for the other 85%.
Since 2000, most Maori health services for Maori have been provided by seventy-seven Maori Health providers. They have been funded by the state but completely managed by iwi throughout New Zealand during this time.
They were created twenty years ago to provide a ‘by Maori, for Maori’ health service as a solution for the Maori health problems – the identical reason as for this current change. However, this network of hauora have not had the breakthrough in improving Maori health statistics that had been hoped would occur with a ‘by Maori, for Maori’ service provider.
As the majority of Māori have had their general practice health provided by one of the seventy-seven “by Māori, for Māori” primary health providers since 2000, and, as the statistics show a poor level of accessing and utilising general practice during this time, then the reasons that Māori do not access primary health services must be clearly identified. Without clarity around the causes, there will be a repeat of the failure of the system of the last 20 years, where services have been provided by Māori, for Māori, but have not significantly improved Māori health as was hoped.
There are many other examples of where this government has made race-based decisions around funding which are nothing short of the politics of division and a direct attack on the democratic systems of government which we have had for many years.