'Race', 'Privilege', and 'The Treaty'   |   Foreshore and seabed information

Enquiring into special treatment?
Brash is onto something!

25 February 2004

At first, I was appalled by Don Brash’s attack on what he says is special treatment for Maori. But now the government has agreed to examine its policies I’ve had a re-think. Surely, this is the way of the future: Ensure no-body is unfairly advantaged by government policies which favour their group.

I have three groups which I wish to nominate for such scrutiny.

Men: It is men who control the vast majority of our country’s resources. Some estimates put it that men own as much as 90% of our assets. Despite the fact they are slightly less than half the population, men dominate Parliament, the judiciary and board rooms up and down the country.

Men’s sport all but pushes other sport entirely out of the media and attracts huge sums of money to line the pockets of male professional players and managers.

Unlike other groups, men are seldom the victims of family violence.

Something systematic is going on here. An examination of government policy seems in order.

White folk: Similar to men, white folk control most of the wealth of this country.

They control every city and district council. Many councils have only white faces around the table. Government-funded schools teach predominantly white history, white literature and white music.

Recently released research shows that white folk not only live 10 years longer than other folk but that gap is increasing. This means Maori and Pacific people are paying into the National Superannuation Fund which mainly benefits white folk.

This is outrageous and must not be allowed to continue. A Royal Commission is needed to find out how this has happened.

Rich folk: Since the 1980s, Brash-style economic policies have led to a widening gap between rich folk and the rest of us. The rich build houses at prices which would accommodate whole communities in the Far North. They buy health care the rest of us have to queue for – and some of us die before reaching the head of the queue.

They watch sport from corporate boxes paid for by those of us who buy the products their workers manufacture or import.

They holiday in places the rest of can only see on TV. That this has happened as a result of government policies is a scandal and needs to be exposed by a properly constituted committee of enquiry.

Don Brash is on to something, but let’s start with enquiries into how governments have allowed unfair advantage to accrue to rich folk, to white folk, to men – to people like, errrr, well like Don Brash, actually.

Neville Robertson,
Community Psychologist,University of Waikato

Indigenous Rights   |  Peace Movement Aotearoa