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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Racist Labour?

Liberty Scott blogs here about Ruth Dyson's latest press release in her capacity as Labour's Health Spokesperson.

He laments the fact that Labour seem to believe that people simply cannot think for themselves. That without government there to enforce some dietary regime through whatever programs might be necessary, people simply couldn't grasp the idea that a better diet and exercise might help them lose weight.

I'm astonished. Changing your diet is impossible without the government. The carefully hidden knowledge that eating mostly vegetables, fruit, lean meat, fish and cereals, and avoiding high fat and high sugar foods helps you lose weight is something that almost nobody knows surely. In addition, without the government how COULD people go to the gym, or go for a walk or swim?

However, I'm interested in the fact that in the full press release Ms Dyson singles out Counties Manakau as her example. Is it these particular people that can't think for themselves, Ruth? And why would that be? Is it because Counties Manakau has a very high proportion of Maori and Pacific Island residents?

Ms Dyson says in her press release that it is because oh the propensity for the population towards Type Two Diabetes? Could be. Diabetes is slightly more prevalent in Counties Manakau than other places in New Zealand (116 hospitalizations per 100,000 people versus the 92 per 100,000 average across the country) but then again - no where near the record 246 per 100,000. So why Counties Manakau? According to the Counties Manakau District Health Board, there are at least 13 different, if not equal or greater health challenges to it's populace.

Before going too much further, I don't think that Ruth Dyson is a bad person. I believe that she is doing the best she can with what shes got in the Labour framework that she has chosen to inhabit.

And there lies the rub. Labour's condescension towards people - and Maori and Pacific Islanders in particular - is evident in their thinking, as Ruth has demonstrated. Labour seems to believe that they need to talk to Maori and Pacific Islanders as if they were children - sometimes wayward children - as demonstrated by their boorish and rude approach to morehu at this years Ratana service described by this article on Young Labour's website.

Labour clearly believe that this population segment cannot think for themselves. They obviously have no aspiration or intelligence and what they so firmly need is a clear and fatherly guiding hand. A Micky Savage-like figure to dispense justice, wisdom and to be told what to do. Why else would Ruth nominate Counties Manakau as her example? Why else would Shane Jones castigate Maori so for daring to rise up with their own representative voice? After all, says Phil Goff, they are only ordinary people, not intelligent freethinking individuals in their own right who have goals and desires and who, given the opportunity, would work tooth and nail to achieve them.

Labour just don't get it. They still can't work out why they were thrown out at the last election and this is a reason why. Their evident racism and condescension towards these "ordinary people" was wearing thin and people wanted someone who believes that we can all do well - no matter what race, colour or creed.

I keep on saying it: we need a coherent and responsible opposition in parliament for our democracy to work. At the moment, the Labour Party is neither of those two things.

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog, Liberty Scott

Statistics: CMDHB Website, CMDHB Health Profile, May 2001


  1. There is a world of difference between the state treating people as idiots, and having small campaigns funded and run by local medical centres and GP surgeries that target those who have a serious problem with moving from delicious but unhealthy food, to what is seen as less desirable healthy food - and exercise.

    One of the small policy measures that is a negative are the sort of free inner city bus services now in Auckland and Christchurch, which tend to take people from walking more than they do from driving.

  2. Plus I very much doubt that if you talk to your average Maori or Pacific Islander that they will think eating deep fried takeaways is good for them. There is a cultural dimension of eating what everyone else is eating, but that's about taking responsibility for your own life - and the only way this will happen is if it becomes something led by people themselves. White academics in Parliament aren't going to do it.