Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mike Butler: No retreat on race-based funding

Just eight years ago, the headline announced “Government in retreat over race-based funding”(1). The nation was heading for a general election. National Party leader Don Brash had delivered his nationhood speech on the drift towards racial separatism the preceding year that had sparked a surge in his party’s support -- the biggest gain by a political party in a single poll in Colmar Brunton's polling history.

The “retreat over race-based funding” was part of the Labour government’s strategy to recoup the ground lost to National in the February poll. The interesting aspect of the Herald report was that no one seemed to know a total cost of race-based funding.

The “retreat” report noted that race-based funding cuts or changes reported in 2005 involved 37 programmes. Those cut included: $57-million race component for cheap doctors' visits; $9-million to tertiary providers to enrol Maori and Pacific students; ethnically targeted public service scholarships; and Pacific Island Affairs secondary school scholarships.

An attempt to quantify this sort of funding in research for the book Twisting the Treaty; A tribal grab for wealth and power last year proved difficult to compile from Budget appropriations because apart from obvious amounts such as for treaty settlements, the operation of the Waitangi Tribunal, the Office of Treaty Settlements, and Te Puni Kokiri, no budgeted spending was clearly identified as racial.

Therefore I sent in requests under the Official Information Act to the Ministers of Health, Education, Social Development, Housing, and Maori Affairs asking for the full list of Maori service providers (tribal, urban, and other authority) contracted by each respective ministry in the 2012-13 financial year, and full details of funding that those providers had received in that year.

Tariana Turia as Associate Health Minister replied with a note to define a Maori health provider as “owned and governed by Maori and is providing health and disability services primarily but not exclusively for Maori” and listed 177 such providers in the 2012-13 year which received funding that totalled $95.23-million in that year.

But direct fund of the type Turia had listed is not the only government money that these providers receive and she did not provide details of how much government agencies paid Maori health providers for the various contracts for services through that year.

As an example of the annual revenue of these providers, the Hastings-based Taiwhenua O Heretaunga recorded a revenue of $11.05-million in the previous year (no current financial report could be found) and in 2012-13 received funding of $366,505. The balance presumable derived from contracts with government departments.

In this race-based-funding-meets-crony-capitalism arrangement, the amount of government money handled by Maori social service providers most likely far exceeds the stated funding. The payment for contracts delivered by Te Taiwhenua could be over $10-million in a single year.

Supposing 177 such providers had government contracts receiving a similar level of reimbursement from government departments, the total for all such contracts in a single year would be $1.7-billion.

The response from the Education Ministry revealed that the 72 registered Maori tertiary training providers received a total of $41.6-million, in 2012-13, the Maori tertiary education institution with multiple campuses and courses known as Te Wananga o Aotearoa received $170-million, Maori student achievement received $8.5-million, and Te Reo Maori received $5.7-million.

A couple of phone conversations with officials within the ministry failed to identify the amount that went to kura kaupapa (year1-13) Maori language medium schools, and figures from 2011-12 revealed that kohanga reo language nest pre-schools received $67.5-million with $2.64-million for administration.

Social Development deputy chief executive corporate and governance David Shanks replied that his ministry did not record external providers based on ethnic grouping and refused my request but did send a list of 13 providers that received a total of $5.13-million.

Housing Minister Nick Smith replied that five Maori organisations received a total of $6.36-million from the Social Housing Fund in the 2012-13 year.

Te Puni Kokiri provided information from the Maori Potential Fund for the 2012-13 year to social service providers which totalled $13.25-million. However, the total budget for TPK that year was $209.5-million that included $49-million for Whanau Ora and $75-million for Te Reo.

Vote Treaty Negotiations consumed $519.97-million. The Waitangi Tribunal took $10.7-million out of the Courts budget. Waikato River co-governance cost $16-million. Environmental accords and other co-management cost a further $6-million.

The grand total of race-based funding documented from these requests under the Official Information Act is $1.16421-billion. Add a further $1.7-billion in possible health contracts throughout New Zealand with Maori social service providers.

Core Crown expenditure for 2012-13 was $73.7-billion so the race-based funding revealed in the OIA requests represents around one 60th of that amount.

The amount of race-based funding that was carefully released in response to my questions is half a billion away from the $1.7-billion that went into bailing out South Canterbury Finance three years ago. But that bailout was a one-off and race-based funding is distributed year after year.

1. “Government in retreat over race-based funding”, NZ Herald, Friday June 24, 2005.


OlderChas said...

Why are articles such as this never featured in main stream media?

Brian said...

No retreat from Race based funding..
Mike Butler’s blog might just have well been entitled “Maori Funding a permanent and acceptable feature of New Zealand race based policies”. If a further explanation is needed please refer to the signing of the U.N. Declaration of Indigenous Rights!
As well as being” Clean and Green” we are acceptable World Wide for our humanitarian treatment of our long oppressed Indigenous Maori People. It is unique in a democracy that such a small minority have achieved and gained so much over a majority. It has been a certain winning post at every instance, and they have emulated a prime example from history in this respect.
From approx 1690 until the end of the Seven Years War between the American colonies and France victory for one side or the other relied upon the “Red” Indians of the Eastern Colonies. It was a stroke of luck which saw the Iroquois tribes (the Mohawks, Cayugas, Onondagas, Oneidas, and the Senecas) take the offensive against the French, although numerically outnumbered, they fought as one, with such sustained cruelty and savagery that turned the War into a Colonial/British victory.
One can but wonder how long this Political Blackmail will continue, although an answer might be until National find a new partner a new political partner, who can support them after the next election.
We must gain hope from the old adage “Any Port in a Storm”! For this “Storm” has all the attributes of Revolution attached to it, or failing that, a dictatorship of a rampant minority hell bent on owning everything.

Barry said...

I think that John Key and the other MPs should get life in jail for this vile race-based spending.

Unknown said...

There is an election coming up next year so vote in decent intelligent people with common sense and common decency. You won't find them in political parties. Go to the folks in your area that you look up to , you know, your mentors, and encourage them to run as independents then get your community to vote for them. At least then the person you vote in will be working for you , their employer ,and not a third party. Political parties are going to continue to put sycophantic, mediocre, power crazy egos on legs in front of you to vote for. You know, the ones who will never challenge the party elites authority and take their jobs.
Let's elect the political All Blacks. People who show as much commitment to their jobs as the AB's
People with vision,imagination,integrity,intelligence,common sense and common morality. The kind of people who would never contemplate getting involved in that shit fight called party politics. Then, and only then, will we see real change and sanity return to our country.
We have many of these people in our communities so encourage them to run.
The person you see in the mirror every morning is the only one who can change anything so get out of your lazy boy chair, put down the chips and the beer, turnoff the rugby and moronic reality TV next election and pay attention to who you give your vote to.