There are no easy answers, but there are two main ways forward. Firstly, we have to ensure equality of opportunity, regardless of descent, ethnicity, gender or any other factor in identity. That doesn’t mean treating everyone the same, it means doing what is necessary for everyone to achieve their potential. As an example, all New Zealanders should be able to access the education and healthcare they need. However, we know that for whatever reason, our systems don’t always work for certain groups. Maori are one, but there are others – Pasifika, recent immigrants for example. Dealing to this issue means doing things differently in certain communities. There are examples of what works, and these need to be built on. In healthcare, outreach workers have been successful in helping certain communities better understand the health system and access the treatment they need. In education, local communities have the ability to run their schools differently, subject to minimum standards. Secondly, where disadvantage persists, we must bolster our anti-discrimination legislation. Instead of Maori relying on the Waitangi Tribunal to stamp out ethnic based disadvantage, all groups should have a clear avenue to confront discrimination.

How do we sort the ethnic bias in disadvantage? was last modified: January 5th, 2015 by Gareth Morgan