“Associate Health Minister Willow-Jean Prime was blissfully unaware of her own policy when I asked her about it in Parliament yesterday. Today she has corrected her answers and admitted that pregnant mothers are receiving $50 prezzy cards purely because of their race,” says ACT’s Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“It’s a shame the Minister wasn’t more aware in Question Time yesterday. The topic was put to her on notice so she had an entire day to prepare, there was no excuse for her to not even know what she was being asked about.

“It meant that she could not provide answers as to why the Government is giving out incentive payments defined by race, rather than need. Kiwis are frustrated that people get different healthcare because of who their ancestors were, they deserve answers from the Government as to why they’re insistent on it.

“What’s worse, the funding for this divisive policy has been taken from Community Services Card funding. Labour is taking money from a scheme which benefits the economically vulnerable, to give it to a scheme which exclusively benefits mothers from one ethnic group.

“This is sadly a classic example of what’s happening everywhere in the bureaucracy: arguing over identity rather than solving problems. We need to tell the public service that treating people differently based on race is lazy and divisive – they must get better at targeting need equally.

“ACT will address the causes of poor health outcomes, by investing in education, by making it easier to build affordable housing, and by properly funding healthcare – especially primary healthcare. Everyone in New Zealand should be able to see a doctor when they are unwell and get help to live a healthy lifestyle.

“Labour never asked New Zealanders if they wanted access to public healthcare to be determined by ethnicity, and even now they won’t be open about the extent to which ethnicity determines access. ACT, on the other hand, will be direct with Kiwis – no ACT Government will use ethnicity to determine access to public healthcare.”

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