“The Health Minister’s review of Te Whatu Ora’s ‘waitlist equity adjuster tool’ must end the policy of moving sick patients up and down health waitlists based on their race,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Prime Minister has asked Ayesha Verrall to do a review of the new policy to ensure that one form of discrimination isn’t replacing another.

“Sadly, that’s exactly what is happening.

“Māori and Pasifika are being moved up the list and Indian and Chinese are dropping down. People who have less need are leapfrogging those who have more need. That’s completely wrong and it’s got to stop.

“A person who is in great clinical need, has waited a long time, lives far from major medical facilities, and is poor could be Māori, European, Pacific, Indian or Chinese, and they should all be treated equally.

“If the first four criteria of clinical need, time already waited, geographical location, and economic deprivation are doing their job, then racial discrimination is not needed. The only possible effect of racial discrimination is to make sure a person in greater need waits longer for an operation and may die on a waiting list because they had the wrong ancestors.

“Racial discrimination has become the official policy of the New Zealand Government. Moving sick patients up and down health waitlists based on their race is fundamentally un-Kiwi.

“People who have migrated to New Zealand to escape prejudice are now confronted with it again. The dream of New Zealand to be not only opportunity, but equal opportunity – regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexuality.

“A Party Vote for ACT in October is a vote to tell the bureaucracy: you will not treat people differently simply because of their race.”

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