Pakeha urged to be more generous

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

Race Relations Commissioner criticised those Pakeha who still resisted moves to give “special treatment” to disadvantaged Maori, thousands of whom suffered inequality. 

“I still have a sense that there is a lack of generosity in some Pakeha attitudes to Maori and there is a lack of will to see measures taken that will help to remove that disadvantage and there is a lack of understanding of this notion that it is actually fair to deal specifically with people who are suffering unfairness.”

Mr de Bres said he received a “continuing thread of correspondence” against “anything that could be deemed to be a special measure or something that applies particularly to Maori or Pacific people”.

“Every time the issue comes up … then you start to get a level of resistance and resentment and objection.

“I understand where people are coming from when they object to it. All you can really do is continue to have the conversation because, unless you do something about it, the outcomes for everybody are going to be worse in the end.”

In a forthcoming report, Mr de Bres said he would note that 41 per cent of school children in Auckland and Northland were Pakeha. That showed that, if racial inequalities were not addressed, it would lead to negative social outcomes for everyone.

I have no problem with the Government spending money to try and improve employment, educational, health and law & order outcomes for Maori. It is in all of our interest, to have Maori New Zealanders achieve better outcomes.

That does not mean that every programme designed to achieve better outcomes is a good idea though. And it doesn’t mean that programmes have to be delivered purely on racial grounds (although some do). A programme that is effective at improving educational outcomes for low income families will benefit Maori, even if not specifically targeted at them.

If specific targeting does make a programme more effective, then I’m okay with that. But decisions should be based on proven effectiveness. And if they don’t work, then they should stop.

So Joris may have a point on a lack of generosity by some towards lifting outcomes for Maori, but maybe he could also express a view on the generosity of those who called Hekia Parata, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples “niggers” at Waitangi yesterday. Because fairly or unfairly the actions of those extreme elements contribute significantly to a lack of “generosity” by many.

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