Here’s another urgent issue to address to shake off the shackles of colonialism (or so say Maori nurses)

We have to listen very carefully, when our Treaty partners complain about a raw deal.

If we don’t they are apt to mount a case to the Waitangi Tribunal, and the next thing you know a judgement has been made in their favour and the Government is being told how badly it is behaving.

This being so, Alf jumped to attention when he heard a nurses’ group complain that…

…it believes the colonial process is coming down like a big hammer on Maori health providers.

The colonial process?

In the year 2014, when significant numbers of people are talking about becoming a republic, and bloody co-governance arrangements are festooning to undermine our democratic institutions, and we are under pressure to design a new flag and what-have-you?

In this case, the complaint is coming from a bunch of nurses who have separated themselves from other nurses to flaunt their ethnicity.

Yep. Theirs is a race-based outfit.

We don’t have a National Council of English Nurses, so far as Alf is aware.

Nor a National Council of Scottish Nurses, Chinese Nurses, Indian Nurses, Hottentot Nurses or Eskimo Nurses.

But our indigenous people cannot resist the urge to organise themselves on an ethnic basis and promote their interests in racial terms.

Whether this is calculated to win hearts and minds is arguable and, sure enough, this bunch is complaining that district health boards don’t pay enough attention to what they want.

Radio NZ reported their grievance this morning.

Te Kaunihera o Nga Neehi Maori – the National Council of Maori Nurses – said Maori organisations don’t have a say on how the pot of health money is spent.

Council president Heimaima Hughes said she was not impressed with district health boards and mainstream primary health organisations.

The council said mainstream primary health organisations appeared to be a growing empire, with lots of staff and a large fleet of work cars, and Heimaima Hughes questioned who they were servicing.

Whoa.

That’s a fair whack of grouches being expressed by the National Council of Maori Nurses.

Alf was led to believe these boards are publicly elected and they do lots of consulting about how they spend their money.

Maybe they shy off dealing with outfits with a clear racial agenda, which would be a good thing.

But this seems improbable.

The boards are obviously listening to somebody with indigenous credentials, because in Parliament not so long ago the splendid Tony Ryall was saying in response to some Opposition questioning:

What I know is that the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board has received an extra $9 million in this year’s Budget; that is, $73 million under this Government. And what I can say is that the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s Māori immunisation rate is now, I think, the same as the Pākehā immunisation rate. That was something that that member could never achieve. The work that they are doing on heart and diabetes checks is a significant lift in the level of service being provided to Māori there, and there is a very significant improvement in smoking cessation rates amongst Māori in Hawke’s Bay. So we are putting more money in. We are delivering better services for Māori and all other New Zealanders, and in particular the people of Hawke’s Bay.

Mind you, it should be acknowledged that maybe the board in this case didn’t have to talk to anybody about how much to spend on what.

Maybe they just did it.

And maybe that is an awfully colonial way of doing things – having an elected board make decisions on how public money is best spend, including a good dollop for Maori services.

Unless you happen to be a Maori nurse with grandiose notions of entitlement.

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