With New Zealand set to be led by their new conservative Coalition government shared between the ACT and National Party, there are rising concerns that the rights of Mäori people will be stripped away.
Over the weekend the coalition was able to take 61 of the 125 available electorates in the country dethroning Aotearoa’s Labor party’s six year reign.
Ngāti Kahu Leader and Professor of Mäori Studies at the University of Auckland, Margaret Mutu, says there are concerns the new government will take away the Mäori Health Authority, which specialises in policy for better health outcome for Indigenous Communities.
“It still came under the New Zealand health system, the ministry of health, which was not what we wanted, we’d rather be out and quite independent.
But at least it would have Mäori in there making decisions for Mäori, and the focus would have been on having Mäori doctors, Mäori staff, Mäori workers in there dealing with our people having to face the racism of their general practitioner, the hospitals and what have you.
That was the hope for it.”
But Professor Mutu says the opposition has already criticsed the program since it was introduced nine months ago.
“The criticism was, that it hadn’t changed the statistics in nine months, for heavens sake.
So they want to take that away, what they are going to replace that with, I don’t know.”
There are also concerns Mäori will be taken away from making decisions in regards to the country’s broken water system.
“What the last government did was brought in was a management scheme that involved having Mäori people in the decision making table.
And that’s because we are the ones who actually know the localities around the country because we’ve been there.”
But now that could be taken away.
“Now having Mäori at the decision making table just drove some white supremacists into an absolute tizzy.
They were so adamant that no Mäori should have a say in anything that has to do with natural resources in this country.”
The Professor also has concerns that the election results points to the country shifting into conservative attitudes.
“The shift to it is a fear amongst Pākehās, white people here, that Mäori are getting things they should be having.
What does people don’t or chose to understand is that Mäori are severely disadvantaged in this country.
And that can’t simply be denied, but there is a strong undercurrent in this country that says, only whites should get the resources and the benefits of the resources in this country.
If Mäori get anything in this country there is always a white backlash.”
The election also the country’s Mäori party, Te Pāti Māori, make meaningful gains winning four out of the seven Mäori electorates.
Professor Mutu, says it will mean that Mäori voices are heard.
“I think we will have a strong Mäori voice in there, but the anti-Mäori, very very racist campaigning that was being done.
There was a lot of disinformation out there deliberately aiming at Mäori to hurt us.
I think that will continue, which means that Mäori will have to protect ourselves over the next three years at least.”
Full Interview Here:
Image Credit Jorge Royan Via Wikimedia Commons.