We commend social issues commentator Lindsay Mitchell, who tirelessly digs up data that put a different perspective on matters reported by mainstream media or brings government policy and its implementation into question.
Two splendid examples have been posted on her blog in the past few days.
One post (using graphs to underscore the argument) contends the progress of Māori social and economic indicators that has occurred under the process of colonisation stands in stark contrast to the constant barrage of contrary claims
The second post challenges the Ardern Government’s claims to be the most open and transparent government ever.
The first post steers Mitchell’s audience to the NZCPR, which has published a brief paper she has written.
As she explains, the paper leans heavily on graphic data – hence the title:
MĀORI SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INDICATORS UNDER COLONIZATION: A Picture of Progress
“The over-riding theme from those academics, politicians and public servants currently holding sway is that colonization was and is a negative experience for Māori. Poor outcomes are given as concrete and conclusive evidence.
“This paper takes a different tack. It examines social and economic indicators for Māori under colonization over various time periods (dictated by available data). It relies heavily on graphic depictions. Rather than comparing Māori to other ethnicities, the focus is on how Māori themselves are progressing or otherwise….
“This brief paper shows for most Māori living standards have improved enormously, as has equality of opportunity. The progress of Māori social and economic indicators that has occurred under the process of colonization stands in stark contrast to the constant barrage of contrary claims.”
Among the examples –
Before 1840 the average life expectancy calculated from skeletal records was 30 years at birth, and 45 for those who reached adulthood. Life expectancy at birth fell to 22 in the thirty-year period between 1844 and 1874, rose to 27 in 1891 and 33 by 1901, according to demographer Ian Pool.13 Since 1951 life expectancy for both male and female Māori has risen faster than for non-Māori.
There are many more graphs. Go and see for yourself.
Mitchell recalls the report in 2010 of a United Nations special rapporteur, Professor Anaya , who said:
“I cannot help but note the extreme disadvantage in the social and economic conditions of Māori people, which are dramatically manifested in the continued and persistent high levels of incarceration of Māori individuals.”
But the graphs in Mitchell’s paper show this is simply not the case for most Māori.
Their living standards have improved enormously, as has equality of opportunity.
Waitangi settlements have allowed tribes to instigate scholarship programmes, invest in business enterprises and educational facilities. There is widespread interest in and promotion of the Māori language and other cultural activities. Immersion schools are numerous. Māori health and social service organisations are growing in number.”
The other post we recommend challenges the Ardern’s Government’s claim to be most open and transparent we have had.
Mitchell – who monitors the Ministry of Social Development’s website daily – on 26 August found the following notice:
Every five years, New Zealand reports to the United Nations about what they are doing to make sure children’s rights are met.
The government has apparently prepared a response and says:
We would like your feedback on how well the Government has responded to the issues raised by the Committee.
Submissions are welcomed and encouraged from-
children and young people
forums that operate on behalf of children and young people
iwi and Māori engagement forums, particularly those that work with tamariki and rangatahi Māori
interested individuals and experts
non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
professionals who work with children.
But the opening date for submissions and feedback was Tuesday 20 July 2021 and the closing date is tomorrow – 31 August 2021.
Posting the announcement in the “what’s new” section of the ministry website last Thursday gave three working days to respond at a time we are in lockdown.
Mitchell is appropriately scathing.
This is a very shonky and incompetent government. Make no mistake.
Ardern will not want a report to the UN reflecting badly on her. The opportunity for criticism is minimised.
But 3 working days in lock down is three days when many people may have time on their hands.
Make a submission. I’m going to.
She might even mention the lack of commitment to open and transparent government.