District Health Boards’ race-based policies show their priorities amidst a health crisis are on another planet, and risk fuelling an election campaign of racial bickering,” according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“After the past couple of days, we must pull back from the brink of a dirty, racist election and focus on our economic recovery. It hardly helps that government departments are now singling people out on race as official policy.

“Last election, Labour and NZ First made race an issue when it came to immigration and housing, promising to slash migration numbers and ban foreigners from owning houses.

“We’re heading down the same path this year and the DHBs now playing identity politics are just adding fuel to the fire.

“Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs are placing Māori and Pasifika at the top of elective surgery waiting lists based on a Government directive. Auckland DHB is considering doing the same.

“That is deeply wrong.

“DHBs shouldn’t be making medical decisions on political grounds. Priority should be based on clinical need and the time a patient has waited, not their race.

“First, it is impractical. How do you define Māori and Pasifika? What weight do DHBs place on race? Are they going to make sure every Māori and Pasifika person is treated before anyone else?

“Doctors work on the human body. Any doctor can tell you that people of different ethnic backgrounds have far more in common than anything dividing them. We should treat all humans equally because it is our common humanity that unites us. Racial profiling can only divide.

“More importantly, it creates serious resentment among other New Zealanders. It’s the last thing we need at a time like this.

“We should pull back from race-based decision-making. All New Zealanders should have equal rights under the law. After all, we have more in common than that which divides us.”