“There is no equality or fairness in Aotearoa”
Maori Minister for Crown Relations Kelvin Davis said there was no equality or fairness in Aotearoa, in response to what he described as ‘the opposition’s aim to reduce and burn” agencies or policies designed to create equity for people “who have not benefited from a system historically designed and supported by and for the benefit of predominantly privileged Pākehā men”.
In his address to parliament on Wednesday evening, Davis, who is of Ngāpuhi descent, spoke of his tupuna (ancestor) who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi “in the mistaken belief” that his prized possessions and resources would be his forever.
“But that was a lie. His property rights were forgotten. He was told he could not collect customs; only the Crown could. His pā and gardens were burnt down. He was arrested and imprisoned without trial or charge.
“My hapū for the day ended up with nothing.”
If they abolish such agencies, Davis said, “The opposition does not recognize that their prosperity was created through the misery of my whānau.”
ACT released its alternative budget this week, which would see the abolition of government agencies such as Te Puni Kokiri – the Maori Development Department and the Human Rights Commission.
National has since declined to rule out politics, should it form a coalition with ACT, with leader Christopher Luxon saying those conversations would take place next year, but also that it is not National Party policy.
In response to Davis’ speech, David Seymour said he agreed that “greater fairness” was needed in New Zealand, and that if Davis had read ACT’s Real Change Budget, “he would have learned that we are proposing the opposite of protecting the status quo”. “.
“Achieving equity is about bringing real change and having the best policies in the world, which we are a long way from,” Seymour said.
“ACT has always said that if a ministry can explain what value it adds to the lives of New Zealanders, it should stay. But neither Kelvin (Davis) nor Willie Jackson has been able to explain the impact of these departments. Has the Department of Maori Development improved Maori literacy rates or wages. If so, how?
In his speech, Davis said his hapū could have used a Māori Development Ministry at the time “to help them get back on their feet”, and Te Arawhiti, the Māori Crown Relations Office, would also have been helpful. , “because I can tell you at that time that the relationship between Maori and the Crown was quite sour”.
“They could have done with the Commission on Human Rights because their human rights were horribly violated and, as most of us are the product of our upbringing, the lack of equality across generations has leads to gross inequity,” he said.
The descendants of his tupuna could have had a life of prosperity if Te Tiriti o Waitangi had been honoured, Davis said, but he instead estimated that around 80% lived on the subsistence level.
“Tie means we should start on the same playing field and we should all have the same shot, but history has meant we don’t start on the same playing field,” Davis said.
“There is no equality or fairness in Aotearoa and the opposition’s aim to burn down the Maori Development Department, the Maori Crown Relations Office, the Women’s Department, the Human Rights Commission man, winter power payment, and gratuity are all examples of agencies or policies designed to create fairness for those who have not benefited from a system historically designed and supported by and at benefit of predominantly privileged Pākehā men.
Davis accused the opposition of wanting to “protect the status quo”, a system “that looks after their needs”.
“They conveniently overlook the fact that their wealth, privilege and authority were built on the backs of other people’s misery and entrenched inequality across generations,” he said.
He also spoke about inequitable health outcomes for Maori and highlighted comments made recently by National’s Shane Reti regarding Maori life expectancy since 1840.
“It would be nice if we could live as long as non-Maori and enjoy our pensions as long as non-Maori, given that we too have paid tax all our working lives, although I hear to say that Shane Reti wants us to be happy that we don’t die in our thirties like we did 182 years ago when signing Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
“The main aspiration of him and his party for Maori is that we are grateful to be alive.”
Earlier this week, Reti explained her comments.
“I was told that over the decades Maori health had not improved, and what I meant was that if we go back to 1840, Maori life expectancy was from about 30 years ago, today it’s about 73.4. There have clearly been improvements. , and I think we have to be careful not to diminish the work of a lot of good people who have it brought to this point.
He went on to say that he had been concerned about the $50 difference in Pharmac spending between Maori and non-Maori for “effectively the same medical conditions”.
“There is a range of situations in which Maori clearly fare less well than non-Maori.”