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SUBMISSION ON THE PAE ORA (HEALTHY FUTURES) BILL

This Bill must be one of the worst pieces of legislation ever to come before the New Zealand Parliament in that it unashamedly and explicitly introduces racism into the New Zealand health sector.


For decades, New Zealanders opposed apartheid in South Africa. For decades New Zealanders opposed the fiction of “separate but equal” in the American education sector.


And yet here we are, in 2021, openly and apparently without embarrassment proposing to move New Zealand from a health system which treats all citizens on the basis of their need to one which provides care depending on a part of a citizen’s ancestry.


Far from being a move to align the health system with the Treaty of Waitangi, it does precisely the reverse. Article III of the Treaty did not pretend that the Crown could guarantee that all citizens would have perfect health, or perfect education, or would live to the same age as all other citizens. That would have been an absurdity. Article III guaranteed that the Crown would treat all citizens equally, by implication according to their need.


But suddenly the Treaty is being distorted beyond recognition by the suggestion that what the Crown has to deliver is equality of outcomes, which was surely not the intention or the expectation of either the Crown or the chiefs when the Treaty was signed.


Section 7(1)(a) iii of the Bill explicitly suggests that the Government should be aiming at equitable outcomes through the health system with the suggestion that because the health status of Maori New Zealanders is below the average of the whole population this must be due to “systemic racism”.


But that there are a multitude of factors having no relationship to the health system which explain relatively poor Maori health is conveniently forgotten. Some of those factors relate to the design of the social welfare system, which has enabled a disproportionate number of Maori to be on a benefit – something which is often associated with poor quality housing and poor nutrition. We know that Maori New Zealanders are much more likely to be over-weight than the general population, and much more likely to be heavy smokers.


And if systemic racism is behind the relatively poor life expectancy of Maori New Zealanders, how do we explain that Maori living in the Cook Islands have a markedly shorter life expectancy than Maori New Zealanders who have the benefit of access to the New Zealand health system?


Or how to explain that the life expectancy of Pacific Islanders in New Zealand is markedly better than the life expectancy of Pacific Islanders in the islands, without the benefit of access to the New Zealand health system?


And which of the two race-based health systems would New Zealanders have access to? There appears to be an implicit assumption that New Zealanders are of only two kinds – Maori and the rest. But what, for this purpose, constitutes a Maori? I have a friend who has one great-great-great-grandparent (of 32) who was Maori. Would he qualify for treatment in the Maori health system? Would he be free to choose between the two health systems envisaged by this Bill?


The Government has provided absolutely no evidence that the existing health system is racist and is proposing an enormously expensive restructuring of the entire health system at a time when the system is already threatened by the pandemic. It is arguably the most irresponsible act by a New Zealand government in the last half century.


Let me quote from a comment on the Bill by the Hon. Dr Michael Bassett, a man who was himself Minister of Health in an earlier Labour Government and who served for many years on the Waitangi Tribunal. He began an article on this Bill thus:


“If you want proof that Jacinda Ardern’s is the most racist government in New Zealand’s history, just take a look at the proposed legislation for the new health structure. The Pae Ora (Healthy Futures) Bill introduced last week that was sent to a select committee concerns itself almost exclusively with Maori health. Maori are mentioned in most clauses of the legislation. The health of 17% of the population seems to be the only concern of this government. Pacific Islanders get a look-in briefly, the Minister being required to produce a specific strategy for their health. But all the rest of us who make up 70% of the people are never mentioned, and are dismissed at one point as “the other populations”. By the time Maori health providers have been accommodated in the new health structure which is amazingly top-heavy and bureaucratic, there won’t be any room for Pakeha or Asian input on anything. The Bill is a further indicator that Jacinda Ardern regards Pakeha as interlopers of whom her government is contemptuous. Like so much else, it too has Nanaia Mahuta’s malign influence stamped all over it. She has become Rasputin to the Tsarina, intent on running a faltering ministry.”


Referring specifically to Section 7(1)(a) iii demanding that the health system provide “equitable outcomes”, Dr Bassett wrote:


“Achieving “equitable outcomes” in health or indeed in any area of life, is an impossibility. Always has been, and always will be. First, we aren’t all born with equal intelligence; we don’t all have parents who care about us; and up to 40% of Maori children are truant on any normal school day. But if all children got their ante-natal jabs, were cared for, got to school, made an effort, and passed their exams, they still wouldn’t have equitable outcomes in life, either amongst themselves, or with other racial groups. DNA and sheer luck play big parts in peoples’ lives. So, if the government persists with Section 7 (1) (a) (iii) of the Bill and gives achieving equitable health outcomes priority then the whole expenditure of $24 billion on Health is in jeopardy. Not even the resourcing of “Kaupapa Maori”, or “culturally safe services” reflecting an undefined “Matauranga Maori” in the delivery of services will produce equitable outcomes for them, let alone for all Kiwis.”


I strongly urge the Committee to tell the Government it must abandon this Bill. Centralise the hospital system if necessary – though that risks making the public sector health system even more bureaucratic than it currently is – but it is crucial for New Zealand’s future that all citizens are treated by the health system on the basis of their health needs, not on the basis of who their parents or great-grandparents were.


Don Brash

4 December 2021


2,991 views17 comments

17 Comments


“When confronted with a powerful enemy, it is strategic to assess potential diversions producing such impact that the enemy is confounded by conflict in too many directions. To achieve that requires a bold re-assessment of what we call democracy but isn’t. Democracy is: of All the people, by All the people, for All the people. “

“Tactical moves include using small cells of volunteers in every electorate to be a focus for expansion of a true democracy, starting in just one or two electorates. Small gains will lead to bigger impact gains all the while strengthening true democracy. The role of cells is to attack on multiple fronts whichever suits their skills and motivations [metaphorical armaments].”

“To start, it needs…

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tjalling.jonker
tjalling.jonker
Dec 06, 2021

i was made aware of the data and statistics bill now before a select committee (submissions close on 22 december).


aside from the fact it mirrors this pae ora bill (strong focus on maori involvement) this bill gives the minister responsible for statistics almost unbridled powers on data collection and publication of same. no longer will the chief statistician be a truly independent entity (much like governor of the reserve bank).


the bill's effectively gives the minister (and therefore the government) total control over what data is collected and, by implication, how and what is publicly reported by the department of statistics.


frightening!

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Yet another racially based attempt to create Zimbabwe 2.

labour had none of these policies in their election manifestos.

fraudulent, deceitful, I democratic boarder ing on stalinist. Civil unrest will be created. Scary.

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Replying to

A sentence from the Far Pavilion if you recall it " Never cast the truth like pearls before swine." That's was our Communist Comrade Leader thinks of the 84%. Of course there are probably a few white ants hanging on to her coat tails as well.

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lynnsam112
lynnsam112
Dec 06, 2021

When you have 50% of the MP's in government right now that are not elected by their communities, then we end up with the likes of Pae Ora nonsense.......who is going to debate it, question it or vote against it? The racists in Parliament will see to that....

These people can't believe how they managed to pull off their positions and they are hardly going to stick their necks out to challenge anything, even for a moment.....they are seat warmers at best...


We need to get rid of MMP and make all possible candidates sit an IQ test before they are accepted and weed out the useless before they get anywhere near Power/Government....

This would have taken care of the…


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Robin Gardiner
Robin Gardiner
Dec 06, 2021
Replying to

What is needed is an electoral system that makes the Electorate vote supreme. Therefore the people are back in charge (at least a little bit) Make promises keep promises or your seat is gone

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ron
ron
Dec 06, 2021

Thanks Don. With 3 days remaining I just made a personal submission, certainly not as erudite as yours, but making a couple of the same points. Not entirely sure why though as mine at least will be totally ignored, apart from maybe, if not already there, me being added to the list of potential hate speech law offenders.


Have to say it's pretty challenging reading through that Bill, trying to pen some kind of rational response to something that is so clearly unhinged, heading for disaster, yet coming from an NZ Government. A bit like trying to argue with Hitler why Jews should not be persecuted.

Yet we still have Newstalk ZB talkback hosts only a couple of days ago…

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