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E26 Salient Māori News Items to 06 Here-turi-kōkā (August) 2021

E26 Salient Māori News Items to 06 Here-turi-kōkā (August) 2021

  • The Ministry of Health has released a short report on the funding it gave to Māori health providers from 2015 to 2019.  Amongst other items it shows in the year to 30 June 2020, $341 million was allocated to these providers, just less than 2% of health funds. maori_provider_funding_report_v3.pdf
  • This week National Party Member of Parliament, Penny Simmonds, has sought to defend the right of some University of Auckland academics to publish a tabloid article claiming that indigenous knowledge / mātauranga Māori is not science on the basis of their right to academic freedom. She considers the response to the article by some to be ‘veiled censorship’.  We published our views on this matter last week (Pānui 25/2021 refers): in essence we agree academic freedom is important for democracy, but it links to academic thinking and in turn academic processes for setting out such thoughts (for example publishing ideas, however controversial in peer-reviewed academic journals). But publishing personal views in tabloids does not, in our view, come close to meeting any known academic standards.
  • Another Member of Parliament from the National Party, Stuart Smith, has also called for a referendum on whether Aotearoa should be formally integrated as part of the legally gazetted name of New Zealand. His leader, Judith Collins, agrees with this idea.  Other parties in Parliament disagree, with the Māori Party saying it is ‘absurd’, and would only favour the majority.  (Absurd because in its view it already is the name of the country, and always has been, plus they noted there was no vote on the name ‘New Zealand’ in the 1800s).
  • The above two debates indicate to us that perceptions that the current Government is pandering too much to Māori, allegedly at the expense of others, is likely to be a continuing area of political debate this term (note Parliament reopened this week). In May we outlined this matter further, in reference to the He Puapua draft strategy that the National Party objects too and their ‘have the debate’ campaign (Pānui 14/2021 refers).  We also note the housing guidelines released from the Human Rights Commission this week (see comments above and review below), might also be considered too heavily orientated towards the infusion of Te Tiriti and United Nations statements.  For that reason some political sceptics might consider that is the reason Prime Minister Ardern has already distanced the Government from the guidelines and the upcoming inquiry as to whether they are being upheld. Following on allegations of racism (against Māori) at Te Arawhiti / Office for Māori Crown Relations, the responsible Minister, Kelvin Davis, has indicated the matter will be looked into (Pānui 25/2021 refers.)

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