Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fiona Mackenzie: Need Public Healthcare? A name change may help.

At a recent speaking engagement, Sir Bob Jones said he had known Sir Tipene O’Regan before he was a Maori. Bob had apparently grown up with one Stephen O’Regan – a man who made the politically and financially rewarding decision to strengthen his Maori identity and change his name in middle age. 

Well, it may be time for all of us to start digging out an inner Polynesian. As the baby boomer bubble moves into old age and increasing demands are put on health resources, activist bureaucrats have announced plans for race-based financial control and preference in our public health system. Choosing to identify as a “Maori” or “Pacific Islander” may leapfrog you over other Kiwis.

Identity Becomes Health Issue

PHARMAC (the Government’s Pharmaceutical Management Agency) decides which medicines, vaccines and medical devices are to be purchased or subsidised by taxpayers. In 2013, the organisation sought submissions on a new set of decision-making criteria. That process is now complete. From 2015, PHARMAC will be making funding allocations based on four criteria, of which the first two appear entirely reasonable. They are:
  • The impact on the person, the person’s family/whanau and wider society; and to the broader health system;
  • The impact across the dimensions of need, health benefits, costs and savings, and suitability.  
But the next two raise the spectre of racism, along with the possibility of corruption inherent in any government treating its citizens unequally. These are: 
  • The impact on the health of Maori as a separate factor to acknowledge our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and being a great Te Tiriti partner;
  • The impact on broader groups of populations that are facing health disparities, including Pacific peoples.
The Thinking Behind It 

The Treaty of Waitangi makes no reference to taxpayer funds, healthcare or preferential Maori rights to future technological advancements in western medicine. However, PHARMAC seems to think otherwise, explaining how they are applying the (mythical and undefined) Principles of the Treaty in delivering preferential funding and treatment to those of Maori descent.

It’s somewhat absurd to suggest Queen Victoria’s granting of “the same rights and privileges of British subjects” to Maori could be interpreted as offering their descendants superior healthcare rights. But this seems to be PHARMAC’s intent.

PHARMAC describes its role in advancing tino rangatiratanga (which is interpreted by Maori supremacists as 'absolute sovereignty'). How can any democratic government organisation be promoting sovereignty for any part of the population over public funds and services?

Political Decision-making

PHARMAC’s bureaucrat-speak website appears to suggest that “Maori health” needs and allocations from taxes are to be decided upon by Maori organisations (with no mention of independence, science, reasonableness, let alone specialists, doctors or nurses). Such race-based privilege and control - for Maori by Maori - inevitably means discrimination against other public health patients.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with a health emphasis on conditions such as diabetes, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, mental health, arthritis and obesity. But none of these are Maori-only problems. Reducing the impact of these conditions across the entire population should surely be the aim.

Ignoring the Inputs

PHARMAC aims to “eliminate inequities and to ensure health outcomes between Maori and non-Maori are the same”.  If only it was that easy! From personal experience, there’s no chance of health outcomes being equalised within one family, let alone across a community or a country.

Good health is certainly not just about genetic makeup or cultural allegiance yet PHARMAC makes no mention of addressing personal lifestyle choices. Nutrition, exercise, drugs, alcohol, family size, education, budget priorities and personal values surely play a part, yet these inputs don’t get a mention. Instead, PHARMAC wants to allocate funds to broad racial groups (not individuals) they consider to be disadvantaged.

Not all Maori or Pacific Islanders are hard done by. Yet it’s now possible that Governor Generals, TV celebrities, lawyers or MPs of some Polynesian extraction may receive priority treatment over other Kiwis when arriving at the doctor’s, hospital or pharmacy.

And where is the reference to good science in this highly political move? A genetic analysis might find that many “Maori” have predominantly Caucasian bloodlines.

Science or Politics?

Well-informed Kiwis will be aware of the complexities associated with deciding how to optimise the health budget. Any community will have a range of health and disability issues, age-related concerns, and socio-economic constraints. No bloodlines can protect any group from all of these.

Imagine the fuss if our taxpayer-funded, public health system decided to prioritise treatment for New Zealanders of British or Asian descent. It’s an absurd idea, right? That is surely not the Kiwi way. We live, love, work and play together. Surely our ailments should be subject to the same assessment criteria in the healthcare system too.

Difficult as it may be, PHARMAC should not get caught up in political and non-health related judgments based on claims to cultural identity. Such blatant political game playing would make the system very vulnerable to corruption. It would be a sad day when having the right affiliations was a prerequisite to receiving public-funded health care in New Zealand.

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Barry said...

Thank you, Fiona.

That Pharmac spiel is just NZ-speak weasel words for even more ugly government racism, I think.

paul scott said...

Stephen O'Regan in my opinion is a disgrace to all of his ancestors.
Bob Jones didn't say that, but I suspect. Thanks for all the health imperatives for Maori Stephen, from you and Ngai Tahu. Also thanks Mark Soloman you white man. thanks for all your health imperatives Mark. This is the way we will remember you.
paul scott

John Ansell said...

What is the earthly point of a National government if they allow the killing of Europeans on the grounds of race? That's what this amounts to.

Helen said...

I wrote and asked them what was meant by 'Maori health' seeing they also have genes from other nationalities and also what on earth the Treaty had to do with it all. I haven't had the decency of a reply.

Neil Harrap said...

Since we are saddled with racial preferences then it's vital that we define the different racial groups accurately.

How can you be 'Maori' if you're 15/16th's European? Or for that matter, how can a 15/16th's Maori claim to be European? Race is quite obvious.

If being Maori is an individual's choice then all New Zealanders should claim to be Maori to end this racist privilege once and for all.

Jon said...

If people of any ethnicity drink to excess, smoke like a chimney, have a takeaway diet and little exercise and have considerably shortened life spans then why do the rest of us have to feel guilty.
If people make stupid life choices then they should accept the results and stop whining when things go wrong.

Robert Mann said...

I'd not known that the Naenae Kid had much to do with St Pat's {town} pupil Steve O'Regan.
What I do know, from contemporaries of Steve's at that grim schook, is that he took 2 goes (one of his contemporaries told me 3) at School Cert (egged on by his surgeon father, who was not a Maori.
Steve was brought to my home a quarter-century ago by my late dear friend Teddy Goldsmith, to join in one of the pot-luck dinners I used to hold for Teddy every week or so when he was in NZ during our summer. Steve turned out to be a sour abusive oaf, bent upon insulting white people.
He had found a shelf iwi and activated it to cash in, with considerable cunning, on the new wave of confused white shame which was then surging (and continues today).
The favoured neoRacists such as O'Regan are indeed a disgrace.

Dave said...

Racism in the health system is already here, at our local hospital, Maori get Maori liaison officers, family's get free accommodation in a specially provided house on hospital grounds, a special Whanau room for family, special visiting rights. Staff are afraid to confront large unruly and often abusive patients family's for fear of having complaints labeled racist against them. Staff are subjected to hours of 'treaty' propaganda in must attend seminars, and every meeting or training session must be preceded by Maori prayers or singing. Nobody has the guts to say no or question these policys for fear of being labeled racist

Ted said...

Nothing in this country surprises me any longer. I am a 60 year old European Kiwi...yes I make that differentiation as it would seem the thing to do these days.
The Treaty is nothing but a 'lever' for a race, who by nature are 'victims' and who by the way are NOT indigenous to this country. The indigenous Moriores were eaten by this lot.
It is about time Kiwis, European / Maori / Chinese / German... whoever, stood up and told the PC, culturally ignorant polititians to get on with running the country for the betterment of ALL people in this country. Show some 'backbone' and tell the minority stirrers where to go. The rest of the decent hardworking population is heartily sick & tired of the cultural BS. There is no other way of describing the 'Waitangi Grievance Industry'.
Health outcomes are quite often a result of wrong lifestyle choices. If statistics show poor health outcomes for Maori and Polynesian groups, perhaps lifestyles / diets etc should be a focus...NOT, "go to the front of the waiting list..."
What sort of society are we where there is inequality between citizens? That in itself go against THE TREATY!!! Oh I forgot, we Parlungies / Pakehas don't count do we??!!...I don't believe Samoans, Tongans, Fijians...whoever, were in this country at the time of the Treaty???!! How does that work??
Wake up you bleeding heart useless politicians!!

Anonymous said...

I am sick to death of reading letters in our local papers from activists supporting the hard done by so called "Maori" who have no special priveleges over the rest of the population !!!!! I was given some information by a senior medical professional last year which on further investigation made me very angry. At the time I was being treated for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma with both chemo and later radiation.It is not only Pharmac who have separate policies for "Maori" (in April this year they also established a Maori Responsiveness Unit. Not one for Asians or Pacifica or Indian cultures etc but just for Maori). Medsafe and the Health and Disability Ethics Committee also have established separate legistlation/policies for "Maori". When I read the H and DEC policies I saw that in fact they do not know what the word "ethics" means. What really annoyed me was when I asked the question of Pharmac "Is it correct that "Maori" have to approve and sign off all drugs and medications clinically tested in NZ to ensure they are culturally accepteable", Pharmac could not get rid of this query quick enough and a reply came back from Medsafe confirming this as correct. A further reply came back from the H and DEC also confirming this and stating that this was "in accordance with the terms as set out in the Treaty of Waitangi" !!!!!! Where in the Treaty does it give any indication that this is the case ??? This country is rapidly being dragged down by the continuing existence of the Treaty and the dishonest decisions being made by the Tribunal.

Anonymous said...

John Key has stated that the Government is concerned about "Hikoi's From Hell" if they stand up against Maori activism.

This tells us all we want to know. Politicians do not have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the political blackmail that is going on in New Zealand led by the increasingly irrational (or should I say dishonest) Waitangi Tribunal.

The only way we are going to stop this is to make Binding Referenda the law of the country.

It is clear from various polls that 70-80% of the population are opposed to the take over by radical Maori,

When the general population votes in a Binding Referendum to defeat the radical's agenda on various issues the politicians can then blame the good sense of the New Zealand population for having to put a stop to the general take over by Iwi elites.

We as a Nation will then handle any Hikois from Hell.

Anonymous said...

We are once again being severely abused by the PC terrorists (Maori) and their enabling PC Wimps (Finlayson et al).
These impostors, who claim to be Maori and who only do so in order to climb aboard the 'Gravy train', need to be exposed as just a bunch of shyster's, who's main premise is to daily research ways to extract as much as possible from an impotent, non-functional and mainly ornamental administration.
I can see the future of non Maori in this country as being a ticket out on the basis of political asylum, due to blatant racial discrimination!
This is nothing more than a New Zealand style of stealthily contrived apartheid.
Ken R Taylor

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Roland thinks about what his son Stephen [ Tipene ] is doing.

Maybe its time we took action, start a petition to the gov general asking him/her to dissolve parliament if they don't abolish the Waitangi tribunal and reverse all racists decisions. We could give them [ the politicians ] a chance to action this under the eyes of say 10 of our elected/appointed observers, and tell the politicians these observers will be paid out of their [ the politicians ] salaries. after all its the politicians who have stuffed up so it only fair they foot the bill for their wrong doings [ user pays society ]
I also question where the money is going [ from gov. grants/payouts to tribes ]. Is it filling the pockets of the maori elite, or being used across the board to help all maori. Either way, those moari getting assisted should not get any other benefits like the dole etc.