The Dim-Post

April 29, 2011

Brash race redux

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 12:35 pm

Brian Easton touched on Don Brash’s willfull ignorance approach to race-based issues in a Listener article back in 2004:

Don Brash says, “I can’t think of anything in health which is specifically Maori.” So why treat Maori differently?

Sadly, the proportion of Maori who smoke, and as a consequence suffer the diseases from smoking and die early, is higher than that of Pakeha. Moreover, although there has been some success from the campaign to reduce smoking, it seems to have had little impact on Maori rates. So it makes sense to have a specifically Maori anti-smoking campaign, administered by Maori. One of its successes has been that most marae now ban smoking. No Pakeha-dominated organisation could have achieved such an outcome.

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48 Comments »

  1. 2005, radio interview:

    QUESTION: What about the haka before an All Black rugby test? Is it a good look?

    BRASH: I’m very comfortable and relaxed about that. I’m more relaxed about that than I am about some of the official welcomes that foreign visitors get. They must what wonder kind of country they get when the only official welcome they have is a Maori New Zealander jumping around half naked. I mean, I think there is a place for Maori culture but why is it that we always use a semi-naked male, sometimes quite pale-skinned Maori, leaping around in, you know, mock battle?”

    Comment by sammy — April 29, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

  2. just a thought-inducing liberal frothing about Brash among those who won’t vote ACT is achieving …..

    Comment by will — April 29, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

  3. Brian Easton and Don Brash’s statements are not necessarily contradictory, though I am sure Brian thinks so.

    Comment by Tinakori — April 29, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

  4. Danyl, you missed arguably the more dangerous and highly Maori dominated statistic – the incidence of type 2 diabetes.

    Guess what? I know. I’ve got enough blood to qualify for one fish.

    Comment by Adolf Fiinkensein — April 29, 2011 @ 2:24 pm

  5. “One of its successes has been that most marae now ban smoking. No Pakeha-dominated organisation could have achieved such an outcome.”

    Wasn’t it parliament (which I am told is dominated by white males) that succeeded in banning smoking from most all workplaces in NZ?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — April 29, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  6. most work this time, dammit.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — April 29, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  7. —– and pubs, and restaurants.

    Of course the other unmentionable Maori dominated health issue is their unhealthy propensity to bash their kids to death.

    Comment by Adolf Fiinkensein — April 29, 2011 @ 3:40 pm

  8. Let me guess, Adolf, you have enough blood to qualify for one solid boot up the bum?

    Comment by Moz — April 29, 2011 @ 3:53 pm

  9. Part of the problem of targetting programs to specific groups (be it socio-economic, race or other) is that it seems to ignore the outcome.

    Spending a million dollars on a program that stops 1000 people smoking is better then spending a million dollars on a program that stops 900 maori smoking.

    The only exception to this would be to stop kids smoking, but you could work this into your outcome metric by measuring every person as 100 points – their age.

    if every dollar spend on a maori specific program gets the same result as every other program then I’m all for it.

    Comment by James — April 29, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  10. James – presumably the unspoken assumption then is either that diversity is a good that trumps utility, or that there are beneficial multiplier effects in targeting a particular group. Or maybe both.

    Comment by Adam — April 29, 2011 @ 4:05 pm

  11. Not at all Moz. Just awake up to sorry reality.

    Comment by Adolf Fiinkensein — April 29, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  12. Why is diversity a good that trumps unity? I prefer to think that everybody is equal, not that one race is worth more.

    Comment by James — April 29, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

  13. Don’t ask me man, I just work here..

    Comment by Adam — April 29, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  14. A discordian koan:

    Greater Poop: Is Eris true?

    Malaclypse the Younger: Everything is true.

    GP: Even false things?

    M2: Even false things are true.

    GP: How can that be?

    M2: I don’t know man, I didn’t do it.

    Comment by danylmc — April 29, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  15. Homer Simpson: It was like that when I got here!

    Comment by Dotty — April 29, 2011 @ 4:30 pm

  16. The reason to target certain programmes to certain groups is that not all groups suffer to the same degree. So women are targeted for breast cancer. Yes, there are a small number of men who also suffer from breast cancer, but a far smaller proportion than women.

    Similarly, men suffer from prostate cancer, and should be targeted for that.

    Diabetes is higher in Maori and Pacific Islander communities. Why target the entire population when the problem is worst amongst those groups? It is a matter of putting the greater resources where the problem is greater.

    These are medical examples, but I am sure there are similar examples from the other areas. The point is that not one size fits all.

    Comment by David in Chch — April 29, 2011 @ 4:41 pm

  17. The problem is with Easton’s last quoted sentence Danyl:

    “No Pakeha-dominated organisation could have achieved such an outcome.”

    Which starkly implies that a significant proportion of Maori would not accept health advice clearly beneficial to their health from someone of another race. Which – IF true – is pretty damning on those Maori (who are not ALL Maori, of course).

    I am not totally opposed to such health programmes, as they leverage on existing relationships and social structures to achieve a good health outcome. But do we do the same for migrant groups – say, targeted anti-smoking programmes delivered by Chinese to Chinese, perhaps through Buddhist temples or Chinese language media?

    And how far do such ‘separate but equal’ social programmes go before we have apartheid? Just asking.

    I tend to agree with James – we need proper metrics to measure the outcomes are broadly comparable to the wider health system, so we don’t get unfair distribution of resources based on race.

    Comment by bob — April 29, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  18. You don’t see ACT advertising in the Forest and Bird newsletter – Why because not many Forest and Bird members vote ACT.

    Comment by Luke — April 29, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  19. I tend to agree with James – we need proper metrics to measure the outcomes are broadly comparable to the wider health system, so we don’t get unfair distribution of resources based on race.

    Then you come down to “what is unfair?” Unequal amounts vs unequal outcomes etc.

    If the Government spend $10m on stop smoking programmes that reduce smoking incidence among non-Maori by 20% and Maori by 10%, increasing average non-Maori life expectancy by 12 months and average Maori life expectancy by 6 months is that unfair? Why do non-Maori get sufficient resources applied to them to increase life expectancy by a year, but Maori only get enough resources applied to them to increase life expectancy by half a year? Is that racist? etc.

    If the government decides: we are going to spend enough money to reduce smoking rates among the population by 20% over 5 years, including reducing the non-Maori smoking rate by 20% over 5 years and the Maori smoking rate by 20% over 5 years, is that racist? Or is it racist to do the opposite. Or are both racist?

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — April 29, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

  20. Maybe my reading comprehension has declined since I took the PATs, but doesn’t the sentence “No Pakeha-dominated organisation could have achieved such an outcome” refer to maraes banning smoking?

    Comment by bradluen — April 29, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  21. @ Graeme Edgeler
    Good point, although I don’t understand the obsession with splitting these issues between ‘Maori’ and ‘non-Maori’. Surely the sub-groups within non-Maori have varying needs and concerns also?

    Comment by Bill — April 29, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

  22. Also, if you accept the premise that the government has a responsibility to prevent deaths from smoking (controversial, I know), then just about *any* anti-smoking campaign looks cost-effective compared to just about any other health spending. We’re talking hundreds of dollars per year of life saved, which is not only orders of magnitude cheaper than surgery down the track, but also significantly cheaper than other public health campaigns like skin cancer prevention.

    Comment by bradluen — April 29, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

  23. Surely the sub-groups within non-Maori have varying needs and concerns also?

    But no treaty to back them up =)

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — April 29, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  24. bradluen, you need to offset the cost of your anti-smoking campaign with the cost of maintaining these idiots for ten more year on social welfare or pension. The most cost effective solution is to simply encourage the pricks to kill themselves.

    Comment by Adolf Fiinkensein — April 29, 2011 @ 6:43 pm

  25. On the topic of Brash, John Ansell is literally going crazy in real-time in the Kiwiblog comments section. Apparently Don Brash could get 40% and be PM?

    Comment by Jono — April 29, 2011 @ 8:12 pm

  26. jono, It’s ’cause he is TRUTH. His TIGER BLOOD is for the WINNING. This will allow him to crush the Neville Key TREASON beneath his feet, and Don will sleep to the LULLABY of the lamentation’s of the QUISLING’s women.

    Ansell has forseen it, and sacrificed himself in the telling. He’s just like John the baptist really. You’ll see.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — April 29, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

  27. How about the Government not spend anything on anyone’s healthcare…?What business is it of the states? Maori,and everyone else alive today knows that smoking is bad for your health and that eating your way to type 2 diabetes is your own dam fault.A good dose of personal responsibility and the law of cause and effect coupled with no state health system would sort this country out within a generation…if not sooner.

    Comment by James — April 29, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  28. The problem is because the majority of Maori lie in lower income socioeconomic groups. There are plenty of Maori outside those groups, and there are also a proportion of Pakeha within those groups. But because the majority of Maori – and, while we’re here, islanders and asians – are within those groups, then they are targeted because they suffer the hardest losses from these illnesses and lifestyles. In other countries the problem is related to other races – African Americans, or black Africans, or Arabs, etc. – but you also find instances where other countries have issues where the lower socioeconomic groups are made up predominantly by whites. The problem in Britain isn’t race-based – it’s very clearly based on wealth.

    So why not target Maori based on ethnicity? It’s a racial identifier, and it makes sense to use a racial identifier to communicate with groups where there’s an issue, especially with tangata whenua, where ethnicity creates such a strong sense of identity.

    We know there’s an issue; it’s fairly self-evident to anyone with a couple of brain cells to rub together for warmth that it’s not related to race, but wealth; and it’s the obviously solution to take the racial identifier to try and create solutions for the issues at hand. Why not? We’re not saying the problem doesn’t exist in the other groups, but we are saying that for some groups, it’s a massive problem compared to the others.

    The fact that some people think it’s racist to base positive solutions on ethnicity doesn’t actually make it racist; it just makes them really fucking stupid, and obviously totally unable to recognise the fact that race is an identifier, not all racial identifiers are negative, and that not all racial distinctions are based on one race good, one race bad.

    Comment by Dizzy — April 29, 2011 @ 10:31 pm

  29. “A good dose of personal responsibility and the law of cause and effect coupled with no state health system would sort this country out within a generation…if not sooner.”

    You know, that’s so compelling and backed up with all that empirical evidence you can no doubt provide, that it’s hard to believe that the Libertarianzah only get around 17 votes each election.

    Comment by Guy Smiley — April 29, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

  30. @ James, assuming you’re not a troll.

    “A good dose of personal responsibility and the law of cause and effect coupled with no state health system would sort this country out within a generation…if not sooner”

    Been to South Africa recently? The USA? If by ‘sort out’ you mean ‘fucked’, then yes – you’re spot on.

    Comment by TBWood — April 29, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

  31. Sigh. James is not a troll. You know, a fellow similar to James in the blogsphere called fisiani is convinced the authors of “the spirit level” refused TH answer his detailed accusations in a blog post because ther feared his ehotorical power. Lindsay Perrigo apparently has some sort of T V show where he debates weighty issues with great, if unacknowledged as so, minds against a suitably melodramatic Baroque backdrop. Serious business, muthafuckers!

    These are the all oddly childlike people, unprepossed of modesty or doubt, who pass as neo-liberal “thinkers” in the blogsphere.

    Comment by Sanctuary — April 30, 2011 @ 12:29 am

  32. @sammy, comment#1: Heck, one hell of a way for Brash to make a point in an inflammatory way. So, I guess I kind of see where the accusations of racism are coming from now….

    Comment by DT — April 30, 2011 @ 1:13 am

  33. Told you it was controversial!

    Comment by bradluen — April 30, 2011 @ 8:01 am

  34. John Goodman on liberals: “We’re talking about people who basically judge themselves and each other based on intentions, not on results.”

    Comment by Clunking Fist — April 30, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  35. if every dollar spend on a maori specific program gets the same result as every other program then I’m all for it.

    Because most Maori are in the shit, almost any dollar spent on a Maori (or low-decile) programme actually gets several times the same result as the same dollar spent on rich whiteys.

    It is absolutely indisputable that if all we cared about was economic efficiency – bang for the buck – then NZ would
    * zero all government funding to schools in deciles 7-10
    * zero all government funding (incl loans) to white and asian tertiary students
    * zero all government health funding to all families with combined incomes over about $50,000
    * zero all government cultural and sport funding – except that targeted to Maori and Pacific Island youth
    * zero all government funding for policing and fire support to suburbs with a median home value of over $500,000

    The reason the (socialist) governments of NZ does not take these commonsense steps – and borrows like a bankrupt gambler at a casino – is because the white middle classes are more interested in their own “entitlements” than they are in having their tax money used effectively.

    The good news – all of these policies are taken from the 2025 taskforce report; all of them are now ACT policy; and at least half of them will be in place in Don Brash’s November’s mini-budget.

    I can’t wait.

    Comment by Sinner — April 30, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

  36. What is this, kiwiblog-lite?

    Comment by millsy — April 30, 2011 @ 2:09 pm

  37. I too cannot wait for Don Brash to announce that the public health service will no longer be applicable to families who make less than the combined average wage, that whites and asians will have to pay >$10k p/a or so p/a to go to uni and that half the country won’t be covered by police or the fire department anymore.

    I think our reasons for desiring Don Brash to say these things are mildly different though, mine because I’d love to see if Brash could poll lower than the legalise cannabis party or peter dunne, and Sinner because he’s probably insane.

    Comment by Jono — April 30, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

  38. millsy says ‘what is this, kiwiblog lite?’ no mate it seems like it’s turning into The Standard if all the lefty refugees are anything to go by. Sad.

    Comment by will — April 30, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  39. Hold on … danyl describes himself as centre left. Many of us here would do so as well. Many of us previously voted Labour, but not the last election, and likely not the one coming either. I thought we _were_ “lefty refugees” here already. The rest are here because DPF reads Dim-Post and likes it. :)

    Comment by David in Chch — April 30, 2011 @ 3:44 pm

  40. David, yes, I should have qualified that comment a bit better i.e. Hard left refugees fleeing from the oppressive regime at The Standard now peddling their union centric socialist doctrine at the DimPost.

    Comment by will — April 30, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  41. the problem with that theory is that most of the irritating ideologues coming to the Dimpost lately have been righties like Will

    Comment by Kahikatea — April 30, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  42. these commonsense steps

    Given that “commonsense” requires ignorance, I’m not sure why you would consider it a remotely good idea to use it.

    Comment by The PC Avenger — April 30, 2011 @ 4:39 pm

  43. oh come on Kahikatea I’m hardly a font of right wing rhetoric by any standard, even thos aligned with The Standard (well perhaps I am on that measure but Phil Goff is a right wing bastard on that scale as well). Personally I’m probably classified as a centrist with some right leanings and a hint of liberal left.

    Comment by will — April 30, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  44. So you’re Peter Dunne?

    Comment by The PC Avenger — April 30, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  45. Now, now. Dunne has no leanings at all … except towards the baubles of ministerial office.

    Comment by David in Chch — April 30, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  46. Is smoking a problem for Maori.. or a class?

    In NZ one Maori ancestor somewhere in the (European)family tree is enough to call oneself Maori and may entitle one to Iwi handouts from ancestral land, Komatua grants, shareholder rights etc.
    This person may be to all intents a Pakeha who is a non smoking professional.. so I guess he isn’t the target of a campaign to stop “Maori” smoking.

    From there you can drill down through the ostensible layers of Maori and find something similar, ie people with a bit of a suntan, have a good education and job and (50%) married to a European who doesnt smoke. So I guess we aren’t targeting them either.

    In fact, I suspect as you go down the layers you find a class of people.. white or brown who smoke and may be distinguished with other features of poor education, drinking issues and so on.
    At this stage I decided to actually look at the research:

    http://www.socialreport.msd.govt.nz/health/cigarette-smoking.html

    and yeah, Maori smoke twice as much as Pakeha at 45%, but across the whole population in socio economic deciles 1 and 2 girls smoke four times more than the average and boys twice as much. That looks more like a class than a race issue.

    JC

    Comment by JC — April 30, 2011 @ 4:57 pm

  47. @ james. I believe we do fund various programmes aimed at ethnic groups that are at high risk. For example, lots of health money goes into designing programmes that specifically target South Asian and Pasifika groups as they are at very high risk of diabetes and heart disease. The assumption is that people with a particular cultural background will do a better job at designing interventions targetting that particular cultural group than somebody who’s not. Seems pretty reasonable to me.

    Comment by LucyJH — April 30, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

  48. I think Don’s point is that many of the diseases we’re talking about, and behaviours such as smoking, aren’t actually racially driven, they’re poverty driven. To the extent that being Maori is a proxy for being poor, then targeting Maori is effective. But to justify using a proxy (such as race), you really need to show that you couldn’t just as easily target the poor directly. Given how hard it is to work out who’s Maori, and how easy it is (for the govt) to work out who is poor, surely it makes more sense to just directly target the poor? That means that rich Maori don’t get services that they don’t need/deserve, and poor pakeha don’t get excluded from services that they do need/deserve.

    I know Don is crap at explaining it (or more accurately, the media are crap at explaining Brash’s position), but seems pretty obvious to me.

    Comment by PaulL — May 1, 2011 @ 12:40 pm


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