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“Blatant” systemic health racism? More like blatant politicking 

In brief
  • There’s a spike in rheumatic fever mostly amongst Māori and Pasifika children. 
  • Newshub gives Dr. from Auckland University  airtime to attack right wing policies under the guise of health expertise.
  • A PhD doesn’t give your brand of left wing politics any more validity. Lots of qualified people hold different political views. 

Are you harming children by not voting left? 

Dr Anneka Anderson, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, was interviewed by The Hui presenter Julian Wilcox about the rise in cases of rheumatic fever –a disease linked to strep throat– in New Zealand. There were 86 cases in the first half of 2023 compared to 38 cases in all of 2022. 

According to the report: 

“Māori and Pasifika children are significantly more likely to be hospitalised with rheumatic fever than those of European or other ethnicities.” 

This may, unfortunately, be true. But is there some kind of social or health policy that would definitely resolve this that others could not point to as discriminatory against them? 

In any event, she says the one size fits all health system is not working for Māori.

Anderson’s plainly partisan political message is simple. Perhaps too simple. Votes for right leaning policies are literally killing Māori and Pasifika children. 

“Attitudes like that are what’s killing our tamariki and rangatahi [children and young people],” she says. 

Let’s look closer at what the doctor is saying 

“Blatant” systemic health racism? More like blatant politicking  - Centrist
Judging by the picture, would you assume they’re discussing politics?

Anderson lists off a range of left wing talking points citing “intersecting” “inequities”  along with “systemic racism” as being at the root cause of poor health outcomes for Māori and Pasifika, which include rheumatic fever. 

She makes a direct challenge to (seemingly right wing) politicians regarding their approach to various policies. 

She calls for maintaining separate health care systems and prioritising Māori and Pasifika by race (the latter are not an indigenous group to New Zealand) over the rest of New Zealanders. Anderson even argues against National’s recently announced policy of allowing foreign home buying. In her (purely speculative) opinion, this will be a contributor to a potentially deadly rise in cases of rheumatic fever. 

Anderson says “I think we should be really concerned at the moment over what’s happening in politics over the health of our tamariki [children].”

Apples vs oranges

Anderson says that a one health approach is “colonial” and doesn’t work for Māori or Pasifika. She backs up her call for a two tier medical system by citing the COVID 19 vaccine rollout, which involved Māori leading vaccination drives in Māori communities.

But is the COVID vaccination roll out really comparable to two health systems?

Also, she doesn’t mention that, despite the “colonial” healthsystem, European New Zealanders don’t have the best health outcomes in New Zealand. They’re not even in the top half of longest living groups ranked by ethnicity

Why is Dr Anderson’s opinion more valid than anyone else’s?

The entire interview is a sympathetic platform for her political (rather than medical) views. What makes Anderson an expert here? Just because Anderson is a doctor doesn’t mean her politics are correct. Indeed, is there such a thing as correct or just a different view?

In contrast, Dr Shane Reti of the National party, for example, is opposed to separate health authorities based on race. 

Reti says the Māori Health Authority cannot show evidence of a single improved outcome for Māori despite years of planning and at least a year of operation. 

Government-funded messaging

Is it any surprise that this anti-right wing opinion piece was Government funded “with support from Te Māngai Pāho and New Zealand On Air”?

Compare this doctor’s extreme politicking with the media and Government’s treatment of those doctors and nurses who spoke out on medical matters during COVID. 

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