It is an indictment of how far we have to go as a nation while watching how the addition of ethnicity in surgery waiting lists have been manufactured into an example of apartheid by the political right.

The addition of ethnicity as a factor in getting public surgeries is not reverse racism, it is a symptom of a public health system so dangerously underfunded that it has been forced to add ethnicity as a determinate in health dollars because the outcomes for Māori and Pacifica and people living in rural areas and those who are poor are so bad, they need extra help just getting into the waiting list.

We have dangerously underfunded public health for decades and these new determinants as to who gets surgery is a response to that.

Painting the addition of ethnicity to surgical wait lists as some type of ‘Māorification’ of public health is offensive and grotesquely stupid.

If we had a fully funded public health system with appropriate cultural outreach and community based services we wouldn’t need to add these determinants as to who gets surgery, which is a revelation in itself, but watching Māori health become a political football by ACT and National under the guise of fighting racism is an ugly fallacy that does a disservice to our political debate.

PS: For those still not appreciating what white privilege looks like again:

First published on Waatea News.

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