Brash questions $1b for Maori after Covid-19

A Budget allocation of almost $1 billion to assist exclusively those with a Maori ancestor who have been affected by Covid-19 is an absurdity that few dare to question, Hobson’s Pledge spokesman Don Brash said on May 15, 2020.

It’s a tragedy of historic proportions that the Government still seems intent on fostering the myth that New Zealanders who chance to have a Maori ancestor - always with other ancestors too of course - must be treated differently from other New Zealanders, Dr Brash said.

The billion dollars of race-based Covid-19 funding follows illegal vigilante roadblocks by Maori groups that neither the Prime Minister nor the Police Commissioner dared to do anything about until buckling to overwhelming opposition.

“When the Prime Minister announced the lock-down late in March, she stressed that New Zealanders should not take the law into their own hands, but rather should allow the Police to ensure that the public complied with the lock-down orders,” Dr Brash said.  

“But apparently her direction did not apply to New Zealanders who have a Maori ancestor, a great many of whom were allowed to create road-blocks as they chose, he said.

“Nor did it apply to those New Zealanders who have a Maori ancestor and who were allowed to place bans (rahui) on major rivers and beaches,” Dr Brash said.

“Then we had a special allocation of $56 million to help those with a Maori ancestor deal with any health implications of the pandemic, even though markedly fewer Maori caught the virus than would have been expected given their share in the population,” he said.

It looks like you can spend whatever you like if it is for Covid-19 recovery.

Where does the “for Maori” money go?  Whanau Ora was allocated $80-million in last year’s Budget and $54 million to Whenua Maori for economic development and just under $50-million to improve Maori employment opportunities – I wonder where that went?

“We can only deplore this Government-endorsed racism,” Dr Brash said.