INDEPENDENT NEWS

Race Policy Review Prevarication

Published: Fri 26 Mar 2004 12:12 AM
Race Policy Review Prevarication
ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks today described Labour's terms of reference, for its review of race-based policy, as prevarication.
"Pages of waffle to set up a unit, `co-ordination', `identifying criteria', `evaluating', `reviewing', `monitoring', `planning', `advising', `establishing schedules', `maintaining overviews' and `developing guidelines' is not doing. They are excuses for not doing," Mr Franks said.
"This simple job could be done overnight with genuine will. Labour could simply declare an end to race discrimination and instruct public servants to act accordingly. That's far less mysterious and confusing than the instructions that started this race discrimination.
"Any complexity is self-created, to hide the logic vacuum at the heart of the race privilege industry. It's complicated because it's dishonest - many words trying to deceive. Many perpetrators are well meaning - it's complicated because they've been trying to deceive themselves, along with everyone else.
"When they instructed race consciousness across the community, they didn't bother with definitions, criteria and outcome reviews. They ordered thousands of decent people, in hundreds of organisations, to obey Treaty principles no one had ever seen, and which were never defined. They didn't exist then, and don't now. It was the same with decrees to act in accordance with the fake partnership. Officials were told to pretend a partnership had existed for generations.
"Labour didn't use a `unit' to work out outcomes for other cultural engineering projects. Years ago, Margaret Wilson effectively married over 200,000 de facto couples, for property sharing, and revoked the wills of thousands of elderly. She didn't bother with consultation.
"If Mr Mallard unwound official racism overnight, thousands of public servants in central and local government would breathe a huge sigh of relief. They'd go back to dealing with people on merit. `Cultural safety' would stop being an exemption pass from the thought police, and return to being good manners. We'd all be delighted to watch the cultural consultants, advisers, and commissars packing their bags to find genuinely useful employment.
"The terms of reference pretend responsiveness to New Zealanders who've had enough of racism without risking a meltdown with Labour's Treaty sponsors.
"If Mr Mallard had used his customary pithiness, the terms of reference would have said `look busy, write lots of long words, make it very complicated, drag it out until after the next election, threatening as few of our sacred cows as you can, and then we will think of something new'," Mr Franks said.

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