Monday, August 31, 2009

Treating Maori like everyone else

This is an interesting quote from wikipedia on the state of Maori (for those not from New Zealand, Maori are the native population):

"Despite significant social and economic advances during the 20th century, Māori tend to appear in the lower percentiles in most health and education statistics and in labour-force participation, and feature disproportionately highly in criminal and imprisonment statistics."

A few things of note here - one, if you treat a sub-set of the population like they are different from everyone else and as if they always need government social help, they are going to continue to act like they do. You can't expect welfare to correct a poverty problem. At best, it's a stop-gap to make sure people don't starve.

There has also been a recent controversy over Auckland city council seats where Maori would automatically get seats on the Auckland super city council when all the "cities" of Auckland merge into one. This is the perfect example of treating the Maori like they need handouts from the government. If I were Maori, I would be dead set against it - it's a handout and an obvious one. It's an insult to Maori and tells them they don't have a clue about getting elected to seats in the first place. I find it amazing that Maori leaders are so up an arms and demanding that the seats be given freely. It is a victim's attitude.

The more that we treat Maori differently, the more we have Maori parties (we don't have an "Asian Party" for example, despite them being a significant minority), the more we make an issue of the differences between Maori and others in New Zealand, the longer the trends in health, education and employment will continue.

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