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Fri Jul 1, 2016, 12:45 PM

Maori men suffering in disability statistics - another example of oppression?

Professor says poor social conditions to blame for ethnic divide in health outcomes.

An official report has uncovered starkly unequal lives for New Zealand's main ethnic groups, with Maori men living an average of only 54 years before developing a disability requiring assistance from others.

The Social Report, a 300-page "state of the nation" survey by the Ministry of Social Development, also shows New Zealanders rate their own health higher than anywhere else in the OECD and that fewer people are victims of crime - but that te reo Maori speakers are declining rapidly, especially in older age groups as native Maori speakers die off.

The report was published annually from 2001 to 2010 but was then moved to a three-yearly cycle to cut costs. The report due in 2013 was postponed to include 2013 Census data, and has just appeared without fanfare on the ministry's website.

It shows that life has got better on 28 out of 44 measures that can be compared over the past decade, including on life expectancy and "health expectancy" - years lived in good health with no need for external assistance.



If I had to pick a democratic, just and civil society, after Denmark, I would say a good example would be New Zealand.

Yet it seems that even there the indigenous people are still suffering from significant social discrimination that severely affects their lives. Thinking about it, it does seem to be something of a pattern in many other "English" nations -- Canada, the USA, and Australia -- that the indigenous population has been discriminated against not only in the past but that such discrimination continues today. The statistics on indigenous populations in all these countries bear this out in health, live span, alcoholism, unemployment as just some examples.

So, unless we are to think that ethnic groups as distinct as North American First Nations people, Australian Aborigines and the Maori of New Zealand are all some how deficient, the only explanation must be pervasive systemic racism against these people. How can this STILL be happening in such progressive western nations? I am truly boggled.

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