May 27, 2015
Maori miss out
Maori miss out
It was a good week for the red necks with the vote going against the New Plymouth Mayor who was pushing for a Maori ward as part of the council, and the naming of the high-levelled panel to review Child Youth and Family that contained not one so called Maori expert.
When Social Development Minister Anne Tolley recently announced a CYFs review – likely to lead to a major revamp of the agency charged with caring for our most vulnerable kids – it was very timely and much needed.
We know there have been systemic problems within the agency, which have led to terrible tragedies.
Tolley called on Economist and ACC Chair Paula Rebstock, Police Commissioner Mike Bush, Chief Science Adviser to the Ministry of Social Development, Richie Poulton, Dame Tariana Turia’s former parliamentary Chief of Staff Helen Leahy and the CE of a Scottish Youth Advocacy Charity, Duncan Dunlop.
But not one Maori expert was appointed.
And despite Helen Leahy being a wonderful advocate for Maori during her time in parliament and Mike Bush having a Maori whakapapa, surely someone like Dame Tariana, Professor Sir Mason Durie, his brother Sir Eddie Durie or Pita Sharples could have been seconded to this panel.
We know the majority of ‘vulnerable’ children in CYFs care – 56% to be precise – are Maori, so I’m a firm believer in Maori having a say in the care and protection of their most prized assets, their tamariki.
Don’t get me wrong because this is not a dig at those on the panel. All are worthy New Zealanders and will have the children’s best interests at heart. But there must be someone sitting at the table who can look at issues with a cultural lens as well, when it comes to our babies.
The second win for the ‘I told you so brigade’ was the resounding NO from the people of the New Plymouth district who kicked the Mayor Andrew Judd’s proposal for Maori wards to touch.
Eighty three per cent of voters in the binding referendum voted against the creation of the ward.
I wrote in a previous column that I went to New Plymouth earlier last year to support Judd, he is a courageous man and no pakeha politician has ever made such a stand unfortunately for him though it will probably be the death nail in his bid for re-election.
There is talk of a complaint being made against the Crown about victimised Maori, but even I have to admit the power of the people in New Plymouth have spoken and though I don’t like what they have said, this is a democratic society that will always vote against Maori rights when given an opportunity.
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