“If Labour wants to end unfair differences in access to healthcare, it should start with the racial lottery it is deliberately creating,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Health Minister says a group of experts will examine the ‘postcode lottery’, where patients face unfair differences in access to treatment based on where they live.

“If Labour was serious about eliminating inequities, it would also get rid of the racial lottery, where patients face unfair differences in access to treatment based on their ethnicity. That means a needy patient can miss out due to their race, and a less needy patient can overtake them.

“Pharmac uses ethnicity criteria for some medicines and they’ve adopted a lower age threshold for Māori and Pasifika to get the flu vaccine.

“Labour’s changed the way GPs are subsidised to mean Māori and Pacific patients receive a larger subsidy than other people.

“Universities are using Māori and Pasifika quotas to allocate limited places in medical schools.

“New Zealanders tell me they are deeply frustrated that people get access just because of who their ancestors were. If that isn’t the very definition of a lottery I don’t know what is.

“New Zealanders are sick and tired of race and the Treaty being injected into everything from water infrastructure and resource management, to healthcare and education.

“Everywhere I go I hear people saddened by division, because Labour has divided New Zealand. People are asked to pick a side between tangata whenua and tangata tiriti, with no middle ground. To paraphrase Dame Jacinda Ardern, racial division is not who we are.

“ACT will champion a modern multi-ethnic liberal democratic society by taking racial references out of legislation, defining the principles of the Treaty openly and democratically, and telling the public service that treating people differently based on race is lazy and divisive, they must get better at targeting need equally.”

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