“Dr Bryce Wilkinson’s damning report into the Government’s misguided approach to our health system is evidence of why we need to move on from Labour’s co-Government agenda,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The report says that failings within our health system stem from an endemic approach within the Labour Government to characterise things purely on race, rather than diagnosing the issue using good data and applying the best solution. Wilkinson states: “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.”

“He also describes policy development processes to be: “Obfuscation on a grand scale. Unequal outcomes are conflated with inequity and racism. Correlation is taken to be causation. Materiality is merely asserted. On the assessment of more expert authors cited in this study, contentious fictions are promoted about partnership and Treaty principles. Strident assertions discourage reasoned debate.”

“If the Government isn’t prepared to provide careful and accurate diagnosis, how can we trust the solutions they put forward?

“The Government’s large and powerful Māori caucus has flexed its muscle, insisting it be seen to be helping Māori. The problem is, if the main aim is to create a perception of helping, other objectives like ‘does this policy solve the problem?’ ‘is this good value?’ or ‘will this help our country as a whole?’ get lost.

“The report also expresses concerns at Pharmac’s direction of prioritising drug treatments for Māori over other ethnic groups: “the Pharmac Panel’s recommendation to force Pharmac to depart from treating all New Zealanders as of equal value when making subsidy decisions must result in less health benefits for New Zealanders overall from its given Pharmaceutical Budget. It could even make Māori worse off.”

“If Jacinda wants to continue down the path of co-Government, she needs to make her case and it needs to be stronger than the realpolitik that the powerful Labour Māori caucus want it.

“No society in history has succeeded by having different political rights based on birth. Many New Zealanders came here to escape class and caste and apartheid.

“The emphasis should be on getting value for every dollar and fitting services to every New Zealander. Our population is more diverse than just Māori and non-Māori, but you wouldn’t know it from this Government’s priorities.“Good public policy should be informed by detailed data analysis and guided to meet the needs of individuals. This report is a depressing read on how far backwards the public sector has gone under Labour.

“By ending the obsession with co-Governance and ideologically driven policy, we could get stuck into the real problems in education, housing, welfare and crime that Māori get the worst end of. We would use innovative and practical solutions that change real peoples’ lives for the better.”

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David Seymour