Jacinda’s Maori problem

Maori aren’t happy with the budget, but they only have themselves to blame for rejecting the Maori party and returning all Maori seats to Labour.

One former Labour MP, John Tamihere, isn’t happy at all with the budget: Quote:

The Government has a major problem on its hands in light of the settings announced in the Budget because M?ori issues are both manifest and intergenerational.

All governments have struggled with policy settings over the M?ori Problem. The tension between universal versus targeted funding looms large. There must be an acknowledgement that both policies have merit, but for some reason targeting is not widely supported.

Universalism means that in an ideal world, the blanket policy encompasses and is available to all members of society. The main criteria here is that it is a basic right and does not open the door to allegations against race, colour, creed or class. An example of this is the government pension scheme that pays all Kiwis over the age of 65 a benefit, regardless of whether you are from the top or bottom end of town.

Another example of universalism in action is the Children’s ministry where 60 per cent of the babies referred are M?ori. When you consider this extraordinary number of M?ori kids has not decreased over the last decade, then it’s abundantly clear this policy of universalism is not working.

Yet, this ministry is now close to becoming a billion-dollar agency, thanks to the top-up of $270 million from Budget 2018. In crude numbers, that means $600 million of that funding will therefore be targeted to M?ori ? solely on the basis of their presentation rates from the wrong end of town.

Consider also the $4.8 billion in Budget 2018 set aside for Vote Justice, which includes Corrections, Police as well as Courts. M?ori make up the majority of 10,260 inmates with 51 per cent of the male and 58 per cent of the female prisoner population. In targeted funding terms, M?ori already cost the state $2.4 billion in the Vote Justice sector alone.

This targeted racist-style of funding has to stop. It’s called mainstream or white stream funding because more funding is thrown at the M?ori problem by non-M?ori fix M?ori.

Education is another area where universal funding is somewhat flawed. The Ministry of Education says it costs on average $7200 ? not including teacher salaries, school buildings or equipment ? per child to attend school. But ask a mum whose child attends a decile 1-4 school if her child gets the same privileges or benefits as those at a decile 8 or decile 10 school and the answer is no. Why is it that because you can’t afford to bus your children to a high-decile or private school, your kids do worse because of where they live? End quote.

Maori don’t like universalism because they prefer segregationist policies, where they are treated as a special class of citizens. They will never get ahead because they are still living the grievances of the past. Quote:

But if you were to actually target M?ori problems, with M?ori solutions, how would that look? I know that there would be allegations that M?ori are the privileged poor, so therefore a privileged race, but, given the numbers above, that argument doesn’t stack up. End quote.

You’d think that if throwing money at a problem would solve things then Maori wouldn’t have any problems. They have had literally billions thrown at them, for no apparent gain, and yet people like John Tamihere seem to want billions more thrown at them. Quote:

Of course Finance Minister Grant Robertson will say the Government has targeted M?ori, who benefit by way of universal access to the Families Package.

But what is the solution for targeted funding and how do we go from hand out to hand up? Whanau Ora is a well-crafted targeted solution (I will cover it off in another column). It received zero funding in Budget 2018.

Also, why does 99.69 per cent of the total budget go through mainstream agencies and only 0.31 per cent to M?ori for M?ori? End quote.

Is he really suggesting segregationist funding? Funding based on race alone? Is that racist? Quote:

To cap it off, for the first time in decades, Budget 2018 actually took money away from M?ori. Te Puni Kokiri loses $3 million of baseline funding over the next four years. No amount of spin by Labour’s 13-strong M?ori caucus ? five of whom are at theCabinet table ? can hide that fact.

When you take all of the above into account, we have to reflect on the great promise of a new generational leader, Jacinda Ardern. She must be given credit for being the first prime minister to nail her premiership on alleviation of poverty. No other PM prior to her ? not since Michael Joseph Savage’s first Labour Government of 1938 ? has nailed his or her colours to such a difficult political undertaking.

We all recall John Key holding the hand of the little M?ori baby in Mt Roskill in 2008, saying he was going to alleviate the underclass. Instead it grew under his watch.

So Prime Minister Ardern has a lot to live up to in regard to this negative M?ori budget. Who could forget her quote at Waitangi four months ago: “Hold us to account because one day I want to tell my child that I earned the right to stand here. I ask you to ask us, what have we done for you.”

I guess, there’s always next year Prime Minister? End quote.

I suspect that after generations of welfarism and now a few more generations of special treatment, Maori seem to think they deserve special funding over and above other races of New Zealanders who reside here. It is time it came to an end. After all, that is what all the billions in treaty settlements were supposed to solve.

If we are to move forward as a nation we need to realise that we all live here together, equally.