Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Maori failing the closing the gaps policies

The NZ Herald today published a fantastic statistic that should help everybody question the entire intent of the closing the gaps policy, and the fundamental mis-guidance with which it has been sold to the public.
It shows how the poverty line in New Zealand has moved from being 12% of the population in 1985 to 19% in 2005 - where poverty is defined as earning less than 60% of the median income level.  Which of course means that the success of Peter Jackson, Sam Morgan et al. should all be deplored as they have contributed to the increase of poverty in this country.  Every time anyone creates wealth above their station, moves from a menial type role to a high productivity role, they have increased the numbers in poverty.

Which is of course ludicrous.  Poverty should only ever be defined in terms of an absolute level.  Not in income, but in living standards.  And because your neighbor has a plasma TV, and you don't does not make you in poverty - which is effectively how our current definition works.

It is this type of thinking that has led to the current situation where despite millions of dollars being poured into Maori and Pacific Island communities, their growth rates have continued to lag further behind the growth of the rest of the New Zealand community.  At some point the responsibility for this needs to be placed at the feet of those communities themselves, rather than blaming the rest of the community for growing faster than them...

As Gareth Morgan points out:
"Could it be that the traditional Maori marae-based model with its denial of private property rights and promotion of lineage over meritocracy is just incompatible with the achievement of economic and social outcomes that mainstream Western capitalist democracies achieve? Economic theory would suggest tribal-based feudalism is bound to impoverish those it discriminates against - commonly women and children. As well as being a questionable practice anyway (from the perspective of Human Rights), protecting this chauvinistic societal model under the guise of Treaty of Waitangi obligations is to discourage its evolution. The approach portends the need for infinitely deep taxpayer pockets if equitable outcomes under Treaty Article Three are to be achieved."

I would highly recommend reading the rest of his article: Closing Gaps is a misnomer which helps to direct attention towards the question of whether we want to close the gaps, if this means pulling the top down rather than pulling the bottom up. 

And I would pose the subsequent query: Are not Maori failing the policies, more than the policies are failing them?
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2 comments:

Cactus Kate said...

Maori appear to now be pulling off the impossible, taking millions from the general taxpayer and still not getting ahead.

Breathtaking really.

Makes you wonder whether all the money in the world will not fix their problems.

Note today another twins death.....wait for the fallout if it is a homicide.

Money will not fix basic lack of ability to care.

iiq374 said...

One of the key cycles of dependency that has been observed by a number of commentators, but is rarely highlighted by the MSM is explicitly to do with the Maori and PI cultures of distribution.

The way in which the tribe in a classical structure is "entitled" to what an individual earns is typically anethama to the mindset of any entreprenerial or successful person. And so these cultures more than any other suffer from an extreme case of the "brain drain" - where most of the Maori/PI that are even *attempting* to get ahead will bail the country first.

And so the remainder continue to feed on each other like parasites but after any potential host has gone.