Vaccination NOW: No Citizen Left Behind.

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IF EVER Labour’s Māori Caucus had a duty to speak up for the people they represent, it was this past week. There is a viciousness abroad in New Zealand that would happily abandon unvaccinated Māori to their fate. Rejecting out-of-hand the many explanations for the markedly lower vaccination rate among Māori, those lusting to slip the bonds of Covid will insist that the rest of New Zealand (by which they mean Pakeha New Zealand) should not be denied their “freedom” because of the resistance of an ill-informed minority.

This ruthless racism will be turbo-charged by the suppressed resentment of many Pakeha at what they see as the Labour Government’s “Maorification” of New Zealand society and culture. What these people would not express publicly in relation to issues like the country’s name, they will happily give voice to under the cover of fighting the good fight against Covid-19. Regardless of their misgivings about the Opposition parties plans for “opening up” New Zealand, they will seize the opportunity to pressure Jacinda Ardern’s Government into adopting National’s and Act’s policies.

These, as always, are informed by the racism of the Right’s electoral base. Not overtly, of course, those days are gone, but covertly, in measures which will inevitably impact with maximum force upon Māori, Pasifika and other “brown” New Zealanders.

The window dressing of National’s support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, itself the product of John Key’s symbolic coalition agreement with the Māori Party, hid his government’s deliberate and persistent neglect of education, health and housing. That the negative consequences of that neglect would impact Māori most forcefully was always known to National’s policy-makers. Also known, however, was how closely Pakeha well-being and Māori deprivation remain interwoven: how important it is for Pakeha to know that they will always be doing better than their Māori compatriots.

This racial advantage must not only be statistically evident, it must also be driven home at practically every location where the Pakeha-dominated state, and disadvantaged Māori, interface. Not only at schools and hospitals, and at Housing New Zealand, but also, with special and refined viciousness, at Work and Income. National had no need to court controversy by giving public voice to the deeply racist sentiments of its members and supporters. They knew that MSD would be right there, every day of the working week, inflicting the necessary pain and humiliation on their behalf.

It was under the National Government of John Key that a further refinement to the growing racial cruelty of New Zealand society was effected. While property speculation and rack-renting have always been ugly features of New Zealand society, the rapid expansion in landlordism that accompanied the twenty-first century property investment explosion brought the Pakeha owners of multiple rental properties into dramatically unequal relationships with Māori, Pasifika and a host of other disadvantaged and marginalised communities. Such relationships are practically feudal in their deeply embedded inequalities.

The pale face of this new vector of racial exploitation could not remain forever in the shadows – but it was willing to try. The rapid rise in the number of “property managers” showed the lengths to which wealthy Pakeha would go to mask their cruelty and greed, not only from their hapless tenants, but also – and more importantly – from themselves.

One suspects that a great deal of the Ardern-led Labour Government’s rhetorical support for all things Māori, which has been such a feature of their time in office, is driven by the awareness of how little it has done to destroy National’s malign legacy. Certainly, there is no escaping the fact of Labour’s abject failure to address in any meaningful (let alone “transformational”) way, the displaced Pakeha racism so deeply embedded in New Zealand’s education, health, housing and welfare systems.

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Promising to make a compulsory, highly revisionist, version of New Zealand history available to all schoolchildren will in no way address the fact that, on any given day, as many as 50 percent of all Māori students are absent from their places of learning. Or that, with every passing year, Māori fall further behind their Asian, European and Pasifika co-learners. Nor will a rapid expansion in the number of Māori health bureaucrats necessarily put an end to the third-world diseases afflicting Māori children, or the epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes debilitating Māori adults.

Compounding all of these failures is, of course, the crowning disappointment of the Ardern Government: its inability to get on top of the devastating housing crisis that is destroying any chance of bringing stability or hope to working-class Māori families.

But just as, in the memorable language of the Prime Minister, “the virus is literally finding unvaccinated people”, it is also seeking out all the weaknesses and injustices inherent in New Zealand society. Every street in which 15 people are crowded into a single dwelling. Every family from which an exhausted human-being sets off every day to do the essential work that keeps New Zealand society going, for a wage that is too low to keep her family going.

The virus is finding Māori and Pasifika people where we have herded them, exploited them, humiliated and alienated them. If they are fearful of and/or refuse vaccination, then who gave them the best reasons for feeling frightened and mistrustful? Who insisted upon a country in which its original inhabitants always have to come second to the people who took it from them?

That sudden darkening of the Pakeha sky is caused by millions and millions of chickens coming home to roost.

What we heard from the Beehive Theatrette on Monday afternoon (4/10/21) indicates that Labour’s Māori Caucus has held the line – for now. There will be no sudden introduction of vaccine passports – a move which would instantly transform the many thousands of unvaccinated Māori into an acutely vulnerable pariah class. A move which, by alienating Māori even further from Pakeha, would expose far too many of the tangata whenua to the deadly effects of Covid-19’s Delta variant.

The task for Labour’s Māori Caucus, now, is to move heaven and earth to convince their Pakeha colleagues to pass the reins of the next critical phases of the vaccine roll-out into Māori hands. To supply all the resources required to let Māori convince Māori to get the double-jab.

Not the least of these resources will be an iron-clad promise from Jacinda and her Cabinet that, when Covid is finally beaten, the work of building an Aotearoa-New Zealand in which no virus can ever again seat itself amongst racial injustice and economic exploitation, will, at long last, begin.

 

44 COMMENTS

  1. If this Tauiwi pakeha experience was anything to go by in being vaccinated at the Manurewa Marae, I would suggest that those Maori who got organised through their local Marae’s to have vaccination programs will have a much higher vaccination rate then the national average for Maori. The Manurewa Marea should be proud of their achievement and have justifiably earned the respect of all who gathered there to be vaccinated. No pakeha (or any other race) holding them back in serving their own, plus the wider South Auckland community, irrespective of race.

    https://www.manurewamarae.co.nz/

    Those jab (shot bro?) buses simply need to be on the road to every rural marea and get the people the opportunity to be vacinated. The Marea’s to organise people to be there. In Manurewa a steady stream of mini buses and cars bought all those in need of transport to the Marea.

    It can be done, but not by the teeth gnashing race blame game Mr Trotter is pontificating from his ivory tower. Get organised, get working. Stop blaming the ills of the 15% on the 85%.

    • Take away the words ‘Maori’ and ‘Pakeha’ and we are still left with the fact: the legacy of the 30 years of that merciless neoliberal adventure Ruthanasia, the reality of the alienation of the have-nots. We sow what we have reaped, and deserve our discomfit.
      So yes, get organised, get working. And as Trotter says, ‘The task for Labour’s Māori Caucus, now, is to move heaven and earth to convince their Pakeha colleagues to pass the reins of the next critical phases of the vaccine roll-out into Māori hands. To supply all the resources required to let Māori convince Māori to get the double-jab.’

    • One day we’ll all look back on on this pandemic as something quite avoidable by taking the same approach to colds and flu. Yeah right. These two can be quite debilitating and in the case of flu, cause death to some. Despite the fact that they have been with us as long as we can remember we still have people who go to work and other venues thus giving it to others instead of staying home and isolating. A major attitude shift is required for a sector of the community and is it the government’s job to bring this about?

  2. Chris why do you talk as if New Zealand is still some strictly bi-racial society? It hasn’t been for decades.

    Where does the asian community fit into your scheme? After all, the asians have seemingly had no issue in getting a high vaccination rate.

    If the white fella in NZ is so “ruthlessly racist”, how do you explain Asians having no problem attending schools and getting good quals which in turn lead to well paid jobs, often outdoing the “evil” white man and so on and so forth?

    Perhaps the problem lies not with the evil white man after all?

      • Exactly.
        Asia got their shit together Europeans forgot the lessons of the past and allowed 12 USA FUCKWITS spread misinformation on vaccines of all types for decades that Has allowed millions of deaths to happen and screw up public health .
        This Big Pharma is evil also originated from them.
        Baring in mind our research institutions spend around 115 billion a year on med research all of it goes off shore as we have no meds making factories in NZ which in my opinion is half our medicines funding problems.

    • Bi-racial society, Asian community, high vaccination rate, white fella, “ruthlessly racist”, no problem attending schools?

      Wow, all that stuff. I’m trying to understand more simple things. Like, what is it that makes some get apoplectic when they hear someone greet another with “Kia ora?” Or want to smash the TV when Andrew Saville says “Hākinakina kōrero.”

  3. Very well said Chris. Trouble is we just can’t get through the utterly arrogant, hypocritical Settler attitudes of up to 40% of our population.

  4. I was fully vaccinated in June in a remote rural area with at least 50% Maori population by a Maori health organization. I don’t understand this issue. There is no vaccine hesitancy in the Far North amongst Maori.Access is an issue the mobile clinics are the way to go. This is an economic , education class issue not a race issue.

  5. I was fully vaccinated in June in a remote rural area with at least 50% Maori population by a Maori health organization. I don’t understand this issue. There is no vaccine hesitancy in the Far North amongst Maori.Access is an issue the mobile clinics are the way to go. This is an economic , education class issue not a race issue.

    • Yes, much of this is an issue of the haves v the have-nots, and framing everything in race terms is not necessarily accurate or socially productive. It also appears to pre-suppose that different ethnicities live in separate enclaves or ensconced in reservations, which isn’t necessarily so. My Maori whanau live in the same sorts of places as everybody else, and in some cases, significantly better than many, being fairly rich.

      Blaming contemporary Pakeha, or “colonialists” for historical injustices, is over-simplifying, and it can feed racial prejudice in an unhelpful way.

  6. Yes agree with you Chris and would like to add our government was given advice by both Maori and PI health experts like Dr Colin Tukuitonga who said, ‘make it (vaccination process) like a festival with PI music and food and the people will come.’ Now after he said this I heard many Palangi openly mocking this idea and many other good ideas made by people like Efeso Collins (Auckland Councillor) but our government took too long to put these ideas into place. We also had Maori expert calling to vaccine Maori first with our elderly peoples due to their underlying health conditions. And I also heard many Pakeha on our radio channels ridiculing the mobile vaccination buses chooses of names like, ‘Shot bro.’ Now as long as we have racist selfish one size fits all attitudes like this in our country we will never win this war we are all fighting.

    • For God’s sake – this has to be sarcasm?!? Why do we need to infantilise any group of people like this? Are we expected to believe that huge numbers of our population are not able to comprehend the risk after we have all been bombarded with propganda for months – remember we started with 80,000 dying and just the other day that cheerful modeller said 7,000 would die.

      No illness cares what race you are and to suggest otherwise is simply racist.

      One size does fit all in this case – the jab is the same for all of us regardless of our ethnicity and the outcome is the same.

      If anyone chooses not to get the jab that’s their right and all power to them but why should a minority of all types of people hold us all to ransom?

  7. With 24,000+ living in motels. Wouldn’t it be easier to send the Shot Bus to every single motel in the whole area of Tamaki. Then mop up the rest at supermarkets. Problem solved. Everybody needs food!

  8. Here’s a novel idea?

    Why not. How about for a short time only deal. $100k a month. Just like house buyers and flippers got for the past 18 months!

    I guarantee you that 99.9% of the great unwashed will get the double dose within a couple of weeks.

      • Could do that, or/and have no tax on incomes from 0-$60k which equals about $10.3b. Then remove all subsidies for every sector, which is about $14b annually.

        • And remove GST in its entirety.

          “Total Crown revenue for the 2019/20 financial year was $116.0 billion. Core Crown tax revenue is a major component of total Crown revenue; this totalled $85.1 billion in the 2019/20 financial year.”

          • And the GST component is $18b and change. Make that the UBI for incomes under $60k annually and that then gets pumped back into the system. The Core spend on benefits is only $6.5b of the total welfare budget which is normally $24b inclusive of superAnn, $13b and the rest is subsidies, student loans, staff & infrastructure for MSD/WINZ. So the $6.5 and the $18b GST recycling works on paper.

            • Keep the counters clicking over in your heard Denny. The pictures in mine are better than the ones in fruit machines and yours could be true winners. I’m just reading a book about NZ and the author refers to our pessimism. I think that’s the nub of our problem. Let’s have some more optimism about everyday problems and ordinary people, mix in practical possible outcomes and ask those affected what they would support if implemented. It would be rocket science folks.

              • So much is wrong in your ‘heard’ Mr Warbler.
                Fruit Machines? Pessimism? Outcomes?

                I’m struggling to connect the dots?

                Poverty is an economic problem in the Neoliberal Capitalist world. Economic relief is the answer.
                The resources for economic relief are available. All it takes is a government to use some pragmatism and apply the resources available to them, now.

                Definitely not rocket science Cheif eh?

          • (fyi didn’t use a calculator, thus comment is a back of a napkin formula. My motivation for this comment isn’t that people agree with my research, as in I don’t want people to believe me, I want people to believe in the truth of what they know to be good true)

            UBI and Negative Income Tax (NIT) are different. I guess we could run either UBI or NIT from IRD it’s just we would have to be really careful we aren’t pulling incomes away for support and / or take support away for incomes. So if incomes is too great or even limited then people will become dependent on them.

            Thing is, UBI eliminates, or at least reduces, the need for unemployment and / or employment insurance, which can be complicated, requires administration because it is more conditional so ACC on roids (expensive) etc…, For that matter, it wouldn’t cover students – fresh out of high school, no job, yet, so no unemployment. Student jobs don’t count.

            Part of my support for a UBI is that it can replace like six different government services, improving total coverage(IE catching people like the homeless who are falling through cracks), while saving administration costs and reducing the amount of exploitation that can occur, such as when somebody actually knows how to maximize their payments from all the services. Which also tends to land somebody with the most welfare cliffs, encouraging them to NOT earn more and get off the government.

            That’s a large part of why I set it for the poverty line of a household of 4, with all getting it. The poverty line is basically $8k + $4k/member approximately.
            So for a single person it’s $12k approx.
            For two people it’s $16k approx.
            For four, it’s $24k approx.

            I feel that a household size of 4 is about the maximum reasonable. Plenty of larger households, plenty of smaller. Average household size is 2.5 approx. In any case, after 4 people, the marginal gain is pretty small. Assuming a household size of 5, for example, would only drop my estimate to $5.6k, saving $400 a year per person. 6 would be $5.3k, etc…

            Thus, $6k. I’m willing to listen to proposals of $8k or above, which could let a household of 1 reach or exceed, the poverty line.

            • 2.8m contribute income tax below $60k. This is $10.3b
              Other forms of taxation need to increase to feed into the revenue stream(s).
              But alone, GST $18b, should be removed completely. Which means more cash in the pocket.
              A one percent increase in income tax=$320m.

              UBI or something like it for incomes below $60k earners. Bene’s pay tax too.

            • Sam I don’t get why the sum for household of 4 would be $24k.
              Are you talking economy of scale? 1 spare tshirt for 4 instead of for one?
              That’s a large part of why I set it for the poverty line of a household of 4, with all getting it. The poverty line is basically $8k + $4k/member approximately.
              So for a single person it’s $12k approx.
              For two people it’s $16k approx.
              For four, it’s $24k approx.

              Why wouldn’t it be for 4 together – 4x$8k = $32k, whereas 4 singly would be $48k.

                • No-one can live on $12k. Thats why MSD have 1.1 billion dollars of debt with beneficiaries.

                  Benefit levels need to equal to or close to the minimum wage. Then employers will have to compete with that making those bottomfeeders more efficient or they will die. Thats how capitalism works.

                  That is also how you encourage real investment in training and retention of workers. Sustainable long term employment. This will reduce the number of the unemployed who are able to work. With all the promotion of mental health and ill people in NZ, in welfare is where they should stay because the ‘grind’ for many of them is too much. Meltdowns will happen and nothing in their lives will improve.

                  • The current system does what you’re worried about MORE. In addition, cutting people off INCREASES expenses. For example, have a drug addiction that led to a conviction? No WINZ for you, you dirty addict(even if you’re currently clean). What happened when they stopped giving those with drug convictions(even decades old ones) WINZ? It didn’t save money. It cost money. It led to a statistically significant increase in the use of drastically more expensive services. The amount of the studied population that ended up convicted and sent back to prison increased. More of them ended up homeless. Actual drug use went up. Etc…,

  9. Great article but I had trouble with the second sentence. “There is a viciousness abroad in New Zealand that would happily abandon unvaccinated Māori to their fate.” Did you mean, “There is a viciousness abroad that New Zealand would happily abandon unvaccinated Māori to their fate?”

    • No, Ralph. Another way of saying what I meant would be:

      There is a racist attitude rife among Pakeha New Zealanders that would see the interests of the vaccinated (mostly people like themselves) advanced at the potentially fatal expense of the unvaccinated – who are disproportionately Maori.

      • If I had a bus full of passengers and I told them there are seat belts please buckle up and only Pakeha and Asians buckle up the Maori and Pacifica do not and we have a crash whose fault is it if those unbuckled get hurt.
        The problem now is that the bus cannot get underway if everyone is not buckled so how can you persuade them to buckle up and still remain their friend

  10. On this issue of vaccination rates among Maori, an historical perspective may be useful. A book about the history of public health in New Zealand by F.S. Maclean, entitled Challenge For Health, published in 1964, has a section on the smallpox outbreak of 1913-14. Concerning Maori acceptance of vaccination, it quotes the Auckland District Health Officer, Dr. R.H. Makgill:

    “It is pleasing to be able to place on record the fact that the natives showed a most exemplary willingness to comply with every requirement made on them in dealing with smallpox. Their willingness – indeed, eagerness – to undergo vaccination was a pleasant change from the indifference and opposition of the European, and the patience and thoroughness with which they observed the restrictions as to travelling and isolation was an object lesson to their white neighbours. That the disease was got in hand in four months must to a great extent be credited to the whole-hearted cooperation of the chiefs and leading men in the various settlements.”

    The book goes on to note that “It was also recorded that D. Peter Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa), then practising in North Auckland, gave great assistance to the Department during the outbreak, both in treating sick Maoris and also in persuading them to undergo vaccination.”

  11. The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

    This statement in particular: “Also known, however, was how closely Pakeha well-being and Māori deprivation remain interwoven: how important it is for Pakeha to know that they will always be doing better than their Māori compatriots.”

    Really Chris? Every pakeha that I know would love to see higher Maori achievement at school and at university, fewer Maori on welfare etc.

  12. God Bless Chris.

    Well said my friend, and cutting right to the heart of the issue.

    In my experience in the north is that whānau who are connected with Kaupapa Māori, are getting vaccinated. Those who have whānau break down in one form or another, are hesitant.

    The another issue, is the Māori population is much younger that Pakeha – and lets just face facts, the young ones think they are bulletproof. Or disturbingly what I have heard from some youth is they believe Covid19 is a Pakeha virus.

  13. Your article Chris generally I support however the reality is that among Maoridom nationwide the anti or hesitant vaxxers are prevalent. The Government, Health and Maori agencies, and other advocates are doing as much as they can and have been successful in that those Maori over 65 and sick have had a high level of vaccination. But their children, mokos and others are more than reluctant and wont get vaccinated.
    I was taken aback when I contacted a friend recently who lives on their papakainga in the backblocks. She has a lot of sicknesses so she and her husband and 90yr old mother did not hesitate to get the two jabs. She has a degree and works full time and has 7 children and 35 odd mokos who adore her. I was suprised that her children and mokos and their spouses refuse to get the covid vaccine. Being in a vulnerable position I told her she will need to tell her family not to visit her. Another friend from up north, a professional working in Auckland said her grandparents are vaccinated but her and her family don’t want the vaccine. This is the view among a lot of whanau and friends – all from lunatics thru facebook and youtube.
    This demonstrates the difficulty the Govt will have in reaching the 90%. But on the other hand if covid spreads out of control, the entire Maori race could be decimated.

    • My entire family is anti-vax. None of them know anything about Sars-Cov2 and the damage it is doing. They never watch the news on TV or Online. There is SFA to see anyway. The media should focus on virus hospitalisations and long term effects, especially on social media, which is where all their viewing time is spent. There is a huge need to educate the anti-vaxxers and virus deniers. Saturate social media with all the grim details. These people just have no idea, and may very surprised at the actual toll of human misery and deaths and it’s far from over. I hope your friends and granny can stay safe amid the family vaccine hesitant.

      • Do you mean none of them have looked at VAERS database only 15k of reported deaths likely under reported by a factor of conservatively 10. say 150k of deaths reported 14 days after jab. That is just normal except the number of reported in VAERs database for last 10 months is 5 times the sum total of last 30 years. Try explaining this to me as I am not very bright and need the help of the learned folk that this site attracts.

  14. The antivaxers don’t need educating because we have read alot and have made an informed choice not to have the jab, like you vaxers have chosen to get it. Trying to coerce people in getting it is wrong. People listen to mainstream media, and it’s drummed into people to do the right thing. Doing so is a matter of choice first and for most.

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