There was a very depressing article published by Stuff earlier this week. Under the heading “Pharmac’s lack of Maori staff ‘appalling’, ‘unacceptable on every level’”, the article lamented the fact that only three of Pharmac’s 130 staff identified as Maori last year, “despite the country’s drug-buying agency vowing to prioritise Maori leadership and uphold the Treaty of Waitangi as a way to ensure better health outcomes for Maori”.
It was noted that five of Pharmac’s staff identified as ‘British/Irish’ and another five as Chinese.
This lack of Maori representation, particularly within the senior leadership team of Pharmac, was described as “unacceptable on every level” by Leanne Te Karu, the associate dean (Maori) at the University of Otago School of Pharmacy. She is also the founder of the Maori Pharmacists Association.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, government agencies were expected to hire staff on the basis of their ability to discharge the duties of the agencies that employed them in the most effective way possible. Discriminating against people on the basis of their ethnicity was frowned on, and employers were certainly not expected to employ people simply because they were of a particular race.
But now we seem to have swallowed the nonsense that only somebody who “identifies as Maori” (even though having ancestors of other ethnicities too of course) can help other New Zealanders who have Maori ancestors.
And pharmacists are not content to be a member of the New Zealand Pharmacists Association, but need to be in a racially defined Maori Pharmacists Association. We see the same absurdity cropping up all over our society, with advocates for separate racially-based organisations claiming that they are doing so because that’s what the Treaty of Waitangi requires.
But of course such advocacy is not only not required by the Treaty, it is in fact the antithesis of the Treaty which, in Article III, made it clear that all New Zealanders would have equal rights.
We are appalled at the extent to which tens of millions of Americans have swallowed President Trump’s lies about the 2020 Presidential election. Too many have not noticed that millions of New Zealanders have swallowed a gross misinterpretation of the Treaty.