Thursday, February 6, 2020

Mike Hosking: Race-based solutions asking for trouble

So these past couple of weeks we have seen the concerted effort to convince us that Whanau Ora is off track and being deliberately sabotaged by the government.

And we have seen and heard the claims and report that Oranga Tamariki is a phenomenal cock up, young mothers are being targeted by dawn raid type police squads, and having their kids taken off them for no good reason.

The question is, do you believe it? I don't.

What gives the claims some weight, is they're backed by Maori heavyweights like Merepeka Raukawa-Tait, Dame Tariana Turia, and Dame Naida Glavish. They come with credibility, experience, and you'd want to believe that they have their people's best interests at heart.

But what they clearly also want, to a greater or lesser degree, is a level of autonomy, a racially based separate system in which they can deal to whatever issues they perceive to be Maori, as opposed to the way we would categorise them, like abuse, violence or neglect.

I think we can break this down using common sense and logic. Is it logical that the department, overworked and undoubtedly under-funded at the best of times, simply draws up a list on a whiteboard of people and families they want to hassle?

That is the claim. The claim is not that these families are trouble, they have records, and history. Therefore the debate is framed around some level of subtlety, were the department a little heavy handed?

No, the claim is that the department arrives with police, lots of them, and uplifts kids for no reason whatsoever. The claim is preposterous.

Do the police ask no questions when called upon in numbers to attend? Of course not. Are they in the business of picking on kids for no good reason? Of course they're not.

Sadly these claims can be made because if you were to dig any deeper, like had the family been involved with the department before? Does this family have a criminal record of any sort? Are these families known to the police? You'd be prevented from knowing that because they would scream privacy.

The great sadness of all of this is Oranga Tamariki was formed out of an old department, that it was decided had failed. We have a chronic child abuse problem in this country and their job was to address it.

It is a tragedy that Maori are over-represented, but it doesn’t make it any less real. And it's a tragedy they want to make this out as a uniquely race issue.

Violence is violence, the law is the law. Race doesn’t excuse law breaking anymore than arguing it should be dealt to in a race based way does. All the race part does, is stall progress, excuse the inexcusable, and waste a lot of energy and time.

The government, the department, and all who want to address this curse need to hang tough. They need to see the politics at play here, and hold their ground.

Mike Hosking is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB, who has hosted his number one breakfast show since 2008 - see HERE.


Allan said...
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Mike, as usual, talks sense. But hey, he's already been branded a racist 'cause he doesn't believe Maori are inferior beings who need special or separate treatment to the rest of the population.

Unknown said...
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It seems that erring on the side of caution with the child's / childrens' welfare paramount, is a good game plan.
If a child is uplifted on the basis of error, negligence, ineptitude, mistaken identity, personal animosity, WHATEVER, the child can be returned with an appropriate level of contrition or compensation.
If the child is NOT uplifted when indications are correct but fear of the "r" word overrides the child's welfare, you may be dealing with a dead child, and these can only be returned for burial.