Labour MP and Minister for Maori Development Willie Jackson has to be the joker in the political pack of cards. The card he most often likes to pull out he dealt again at the weekend on The Nation: The institutionalised racism card. It’s the one that he favours because it suits his narrative. He likes to portray Maori as the victims. Maori to his way of thinking, have no hope unless billions more dollars are thrown at them. It has to be that because according to Willie, Maori are too poor to be paying any tax. The fact they have an economy themselves worth about $50 billion seems to have escaped him.
According to Willie, Maori have been singled out, underfunded and marginalised. Listening to his nonsense you would, in terms of indigenous races globally, think Maori were near the bottom of the heap.
I would like Willie to enlighten us as to how many indigenous peoples around the world are better off than Maori and who they are. I doubt he knows or is even interested. He says he’s part of a government that is turning things around and cites the health area and Oranga Tamariki as an example. It now has an all Maori board, a Maori Chair (I presume that’s a person and not one you sit in but it could be both) and an interim Maori CEO, and there’s a plan in terms of by Maori, for Maori funding. He forgot to say it’s not funded by Maori.
Willie also proudly announced a Maori Health Authority which he says is a good start. What it is is nothing more than another bureaucratic government department. Again funded by you know who. These sorts of ideas simply result in handouts, mainly to bureaucrats, and not hand-ups to those who need them most. History has proven this. Willie might think he’s having some Eureka moments here but he is deluding himself and his people. The answers to Maori’s societal problems are not his answers. Throwing money at the problems and instituting his Maori for Maori type of apartheid system will not achieve the desired results.
Having supposedly sorted out health he moves on to education. I know, he says, we have to do something in education when 50 per cent of our kids are leaving school without qualifications. Willie needs to be aware of the numbers not even attending. We all know Willie knows, at least in part, the solution here because he was involved with charter schools. However his union boss mates didn’t like them so Willie, along with his government, simply acquiesced and raised the white flag.
This is where Maori make a big mistake in voting for Labour. The party has conned them for years that they are the party to help them. If what Willie Jackson was saying at the weekend is true then that is patently not the case. Labour has always had the wrong end of the stick when it comes to sorting out their problems. Throwing money around is the easy option, particularly when it belongs to somebody else.
Willie needs to have a chat with ACT’s Social Development and Children spokesperson Karen Chhour who has got the right end of the stick. Karen says, quite rightly, that Willie is perpetuating a victimhood mentality for saying we have institutionalised racism in every area of society. She says constantly blaming racism for the problems faced by Maori is wrong. Karen goes on to say that rather than using such divisive language, our Government should be uniting New Zealanders behind good ideas that lift everyone up. She says Jackson’s comments also promote a narrative that all Maori are the same and that we don’t have our individual aspirations.
Contrast those two points of view. Karen is accentuating the positive while Willie is accentuating the negative.
Here’s your answer Willie. If you really want to make a difference then forget having a whole host of government bureaucracies running around walking over each other and chasing each other’s tails. How about the Labour Maori caucus gets off their backsides for once and organise meetings at iwi and hapu level and devise methods whereby you yourselves sort your problems out. In other words, start in your own backyard.
That is real Maori for Maori.
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