Sunday, August 22, 2010

Child Abuse: Maori To Pay

Minister of Social Development Paula BennettPaula Bennett called a spade a spade last week, and hit maori leaders right between the eyes with one! Our Social Development Minister said maori had to make a stand and pay up for child abuse.
About a quarter of NZ children are Maori, but they comprise half of the abuse cases and family violence deaths. Bennett said efforts were needed to find children before they were abused, by identifying mothers with low self-esteem who let "mongrel men" into their homes as they searched for "some warped kind of love". She also said maori had to stump up with their own funding, so abused kids could be placed in iwi not state care.
Bennett challenged the Iwi Leaders Forum to "put your hands in your own pockets" to find care-families within their own iwi "because the government doesn't have the money, quite frankly."
Ahhh-haa! Take responsibility and action - the crux of the matter. Now read the response...
Ngati Kahu chair Professor Margaret Mutu said the suggestion iwi provide funding and resources was ridiculous: "We can't. We don't have them. It's a state responsibility. We know how bad it is, we know the helplessness and hopelessness... that we are the only ones who can save ourselves. But we also need resources and the support of the state to do that."
Ngati Kahu can't afford it???!!! A quick Google search says otherwise! Their treaty settlement with the Crown (Sept.2008) scored them a sweet $21.5 million - $14m financial redress and $7.5m for 'social revitalisation'. If protecting kids from abuse and murder is not 'social revitalisation', I dunno what is! (I've used Ngati Kahu as an example here, but collectively maoridom can afford it!)
Are these kids simply victims waiting to happen?This takes me back to the sentiments of my post during July's Maori Language Week: "...maori working FOR maori with maori MONEY, maori DIRECTION, maori PROGRAMMES... (it) requires a major commitment of time, effort and money... from maori (which) will only work if maori WANT to make it work."
So the gauntlet is down: do maori really want to make it work?


Anonymous said...

Apparently you've just graduated so I assume you have some notion of critical thinking (although do they actually encourage critical thinking in media type studies? From the evidence of journalists around the traps these days I think not.)

Here is a scenario for you.

a) Iwi receive a settlement from government for past injustices. In all likelihood this settlement would be less than 5% of the true value. b) Iwi uses the cash and income from settlement to pay for social services. c) Iwi companies fail as rather than build for the future they have used the cash to perform the govts role in social welfare. d) Yardy Yardy Yardy writes an article lambasting Iwi for not using their treaty settlements wisely.

Your post is extremely short sighted and you are apparently happy to a) lump all Maori together, and b) have Maori provide services that other NZers receive from the govt. Do you propose exemptions for Maori from their tax obligations as they will be undertaking a core govt role in social services?

Philbee, NZ said...

Dear Anonymous:

Would it indeed be "critical, thinking" that it's more polite to sign in under a NAME? Or was that too clever a word-play for a media type to proffer?
In response, I point out that some far-sighted iwi have done VERY well with wise investing of their settlements. These are now very well placed to utilise the fruits of said investments as intended - ie: to look after their people (part of that "looking after" involves social conscience, extended family care, identifying those at-risk, supporting the abused, elderly, young...).
As Ms.Bennett said, "the country just does not have the money" to keep pouring endless resources into a minority group that - in dangerously inflammatory generalistic terms - seems reluctant to stop blaming "whitey" for their woes and start taking responsibility for their own futures.
They have far more concessions, favouritisms, support agencies than any other ethnically-based grouping in NZ. I am at a loss to understand (again generalising) why they have not achieved their full potential. It is all there, if they're prepared to WORK for it. EVERYone has to - it's not given to ANYone.
My post IS short-sighted but there's after all a limited amount of space. If I'd crafted a deeply researched 20,000-word document, I doubt it would EVER have been ploughed through by you. So it achieved the purpose of generating your input and for that I thank you. As I generalised about the subject, you also generalised about me.

Paratene said...

a) I used anonymous because i didn't realise I could use the name/url option. Nothing sinister.
b) In your reply you repeatedly mention that Māori need to look after their own people - why is that so? Why shoulds the government get a pass from looking after Māori yet still accept the burden of looking after non-Māori in the same situation? Bennett is speaking of service that the government provides for all communities in NZ. If the money is not there for this type of services then we're all going to have to pitch in. But Bennett is the worst type of poster girl for her role. She used the very institutions she is in the process of dismantling to further her station in life.
Your reply had no clear answer as to why you think Māori as a group should take on the social commitments of government.
These factors you identify: "part of that "looking after" involves social conscience, extended family care, identifying those at-risk, supporting the abused, elderly, young.." shouldn't just be held by Māori. They should be held by all NZers and be for all NZers, therefore you should be asking what can NZ do to help in these areas.
c) The Don Brash era is well and truly over yet you seem to regurgitate his same tired ideas - "They have far more concessions, favouritisms, support agencies than any other ethnically-based grouping in NZ". Name them. There is one, Te Puni Kokiri and its budget is miniscule in comparison with other sectors of government. Brash's sweeping statements about Māori privilege were proven to be nothing more than hyperbole.
d) You spout words like "at a loss as to why they haven't achieved there full potential". It's pretty simple really, socio-economic factors. Māori are over represented in the lower socio-economic groups and it will take generational shifts to change this. You can spout as much bullshit as you like about all people having the same opportunities and the same potential but it is just that, bullshit. A person from Remuera has way more opportunities than a person from Otara. It doesn't matter if they're Māori or non-Māori if you're in the lower socio-economic group then you're starting life behind middle NZ, for a myriad of reasons Māori are in the lower socio-economic group and will therefore need some extra help to redress those negative statistics.
e) If you want to write a 20,000 word thesis on the topic and you appropriately reference it then I'll critique it happily.
f) Your "blame whitey" comment highlights to me how off base you are in your thinking. Very few Māori blame whitey for all their woes (in saying that the impact of white NZ cannot be overlooked when discussing these issues.) One of the key ways that Māori are attempting to redress the balance is through the ToW claims process. Rather than applauding Māori for using legitimate (white) means and structures to redress past injustice, many NZers instead snipe and criticise from the sidelines on an issue though know little about, and has less economic value than the government bail out of South Canterbury Finance. When some of these groups made poor business decisions early on they were lambasted for being incompetent. Now when they make sound business decisions based around long term growth they are lambasted for not investing enough in social services (and as I've repeated above these are the duty of the government to provide - furthermore the government does not expect non-Māori entities to provide these services for 'their' people.)

Philbee, NZ said...

Dear Paratene:
In response -
(a) I accept that.
(b) Why SHOULD maori look after their own? For a start, this is what many maori have been actively soliciting for, for years. Some even go so far as to demand self-rule! The govt.pours an unbalanced amount of resources into maori, in an effort to raise their socio-economic levels. But no-one can bob there like a cork, waiting for the level to lift them - you have to swim too.
(c) I didn't say the govt.will look after everyone who is NOT a maori, and that maori must look after their OWN. The fact is: the govt.looks after EVERYone...PLUS gives an EXTRA hand to maori. There's no extra hand to the Asian community, or Christchurch's little Ethiopian community. In addition to ToW payouts, there're also agencies for maori ONLY, and there ARE concessions - whether you accept it or not. [eg: a govt.policy in universities to actively favour maori and Islanders in employment selection. If a maori and a white NZer (equally qualified and experienced) are up for a job, the policy states the maori will be given the position.] So therefore, if maori get EXTRA, it's fair they actually USE it to help maori! That is what it's for.
(d) "Socio-economic factors" have been a great scapegoat for years. But if someone in Remuera is lazy, demoralised or just can't be bothered picking themselves up, then they will REMAIN worse off than someone from Otara who may work on a production line but still get a wage and self-respect.
(e) I could think of little worse actually - the writing, not your critiquing!
(f) The "blame whitey" comment stems from Mr Harawira, whose rabid mouth does nothing for social cohesion. Yet very few maori pull him off his soapbox. I suggest that why many NZers sneer at ToW is because they see the redressing having little positive effect: the Raglan golf course reverting to gorse is a classic example. And as mentioned before, ALL NZers can access but only maori get EXTRA services.

May I say how much I appreciate your input: it's easy to spout off on one's own blog, but it's refreshing to actually be challenged therein. Thankyou!

Paratene said...

Apologies, have been busy - so wil just make quick (ish) comments on your post.

b) 1. What you're advocating is Māori groups taking on the role of the state. The government does not throw resources at Māori, you are repeating a fallacy. The same resources are available for all.
2. Self-determination is different from what you're talking about. If the government wishes to remove themselves from their core duties then they must ensure that Māori are given all the assets and resources of that state. Also, if true compensation was made to Māori then there would be grounds to ask iwi to undertake some of the roles of the state in a limited capacity. However a cursory read of the settlements (available at the Office of Treaty Settlements website) will show that the settlements do not come close to real value.

c) As i said earlier and you've ignored Te Puni Kokiri is the only true Māori targeted government department. There are also departments that target Pacific Islanders, Refugees, and Women. Furthermore the Ethiopian community were not involved in the Treaty of Waitangi process which was the key to the formation of our nation (whether you like that or not.)
"So therefore, if maori get EXTRA, it's fair they actually USE it to help maori! That is what it's for." Rubbish, anyone who receive what you perceive to be extra help does so because they come from a disadvantaged background. This is the central tenant of any type of affirmative action programme. I'm uncertain what universities you are referring to as the two I've worked in have no such policies (and if they did they would be failing miserably).


Paratene said...

d) Socio-economic factors aren't a scapegoat, they are a truth. There are lazy people from all backgrounds, however across the western world their is a commonality amongst poorer performing peoples, it is not race/ethnicity/religion etc, it is purely socio-economic.

f) Basing your key ideas on one person is simply silly. I don't define all non-Māori ideas within NZ from what Don Brash says (who did nothing for social cohesion). At any rate, many Māori disagree with Harawira, and say so. Also, whatever an iwi wants to do with their returned land (which was being used for a purpose far from what it was 'borrowed' for) is their business. It's not mine, it's not yours, and it's not Joe Publics. I'm sure that you would be happy with how Tainui have used the land from a wasting away airbase or kept the status quo with Waikato University. Or the Tuwharetoa gifting of National Park to the country.

As a final point can you list all the services that are available to Māori but not to the rest of NZ?

Philbee, NZ said...

Dear Paratene:
Thanx for your input.
As I said in (c) above, the government provides resources for all...PLUS extra for maori. The Ministry of Maori Development has no sister ministry looking after the white NZ population. And even though the asian population is now third-largest in NZ, there's no ministry concerned with its various problems. My reference to the ethiopians was an example - of course they did not sign the ToW. Neither did pacific islanders. But they live here - surely you're not saying an ethnicity that did NOT sign that divisive piece of parchment has no rights in NZ?
And again, as stated in (c), I'm NOT advocating maori take on the role of state. That plays neatly into the hands of the rabid few who wave an inflammatory separatist flag and dance to Hone's tune. No NZ government will EVER give ANY group self-determination. Such a move compromises everything that constitutes a country - ie: one nation, one collective people, one set of laws, everyone pulling in the same direction...

In yr point (2), you mention "true compensation". I am intrigued to know what value you'd call "true". The ToW settlements are negotiated in good faith b/w iwi and govt. The settlements are agreed to by both parties, the bounty transferred into iwi coffers, pride restored, principles satisfied. These settlements are fair and final.
It's sad to hear (after the event) younger iwi members claiming their fathers were ripped off in their earlier settlements, and demanding even more. They're actually degrading their forebears' efforts by saying this, and bring to mind the phrase "crying over spilt milk". Do I have a legitimate claim for the French invading the land of my fathers in 1066? Or do celtic descendents have a claim against me, for my Viking ancestors pillaging and plundering in the 800s? Of course not, that's are attempts to revisit already-settled claims. So too are demands for "true compensation", as I suspect they'd involve grabbing the entire NZ landmass, infrastructure, economic benefits, financial wherewithall...and (as per Titiwhai Harawira) a forced export of everyone non-maori.
Sadly, colonisation EVERYWHERE in the world has seen indigenous peoples hurt, displaced, sometimes completely wiped out eg: Moriori. But, how far back do we keep looking before we realise we've completely taken our eyes off the future?

[more to come]

Philbee, NZ said...

[but wait: there's more...!]

Re yr point (c): I know for certain that AUT in Auckland adheres to such a policy - it was an edict of the last Labour govt and remains in place for ALL NZ universities (as far as I'm aware). I believe it was an initiative to encourage more ethnicity in uni administration and thus more ethnic participation in uni study. I don't know if this policy extended to govt departments.

Re yr point (d): of course socio-economic factors are a reality. Hell, I (and many others in NZ right now) am staring them in the face every day. My accounts are empty, I'm literally living from day to day. But I have not waited for mana to fall from the heavens. I work, to survive, to resolve my debts, to live. That's what we ALL have to do, to one extent or another.

You've mentioned Don Brash a number of times - he seems your favourite 'windmill'. I didn't follow his politics but like many I heard his famous Orewa speech (actually delivered in Silverdale) as a reality check. And he only echoed what the majority of NZers felt. If others felt victimised by his comments, that's for them to sort out in their own heads. As for "basing key ideas on one person" (f), that is exactly how political movements begin, with the free flow of ideas and sentiments. Parihaka didn't just pop up out of nothing...

Yes, I am impressed with what some iwi have done. Tainui's latest hotel venture at Auckland International is stunning! They should be regarded as role models for all NZ. As for "Tuwharetoa gifting of National Park to the country" I recall not too long ago they demanded it BACK, saying their forefathers had been BULLIED into giving it away! And so I return to my earlier point about "spilt milk".

And re listing "all the services available to Maori but not to the rest of NZ", the Ministry of Maori Development can far more readily and accurately provide that information to you.