“Jacinda Ardern and her Government need to apply the enlightened approach of Education’s Equity Index to other areas such as health, where crude racial targeting is the norm,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Recently the Ministry of Education formulated an Equity Index for school funding, using 37 different variables based on the performance of previous students. The use of an evidence-based approach like this targets human need, so why are we using something as simple as race to divide our healthcare system?

“I asked Jacinda Ardern this question in Parliament, her answer was to insist that we must do something, but she couldn’t explain why her Government refuses to let that something be backed up by detailed data analysis and guided to meet the needs of individuals.

“She also couldn’t explain why it is appropriate to use multiple variables to ensure a targeted approach for those most in need in education, where Māori also achieve statistically poorer outcomes, but not in our health system where her Government relies on crude and ultimately dangerous race-based targeting.

“The answer to this is that the Government’s large and powerful Māori caucus has flexed its muscle, insisting it be seen as helping Māori. The problem is that perceptions aren’t results. Objectives like ‘does this policy solve the problem?’ ‘is this good value?’ or ‘will this help our country as a whole?’ get lost.

“Public policy should be about defining a problem and delivering the best solution. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister can’t get her head around the difference between correlation and causation, and Kiwis are left to pay the bill for policies that are instilled because Labour wants to create the perception of taking action. Whether the policies actually make a difference is secondary to them.

“Yesterday Dr Bryce Wilkinson released a report that highlighted how Labour’s sweeping reforms of our health system were based on deep ideological assumptions rather than evidence, stating: “Those who are serious about wanting to close the gaps should be serious about assessing causes and finding what works. On the evidence reviewed in this paper, Officials are not seriously interested in assessing the causes of poor outcomes for Māori and others. This is a very discouraging finding; billions of dollars are being spent annually. No wonder outcomes remain poor.”

“Why should it be that two households experiencing the same level of hardship, should be treated differently just because of their race? ACT believes we need to take a needs-based approach to support Kiwis who need help the most.

“By ending the obsession with co-Governance and ideologically driven policy, we could get stuck into the real problems facing all New Zealanders. We would use innovative and practical solutions that change real peoples’ lives for the better.”

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