Structural discrimination is alive and well in NZ. It makes nonsense of all the right-wing “one law for all” and beneficiary bashing rhetoric, but anyone with two honest brain cells in their head knows that it’s true. A new report from the Human Rights Commission is being released today:
Minorities not getting fair go, says watchdog
Structural discrimination is a “real and ongoing issue” and Maori, Pacific and ethnic people are not getting a fair go in New Zealand, a Human Rights Commission report says. The report – A Fair Go for All? – is being launched at the Diversity Forum in Auckland today.
Minority groups are being disadvantaged by the country’s one-size-fits-all system in public services, which does not account for different needs and values, the report says.
“Put simply, Maori, Pacific peoples and ethnic communities are not getting a fair go in New Zealand’s justice, health and education systems,” said Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.
“The evidence is that a monocultural approach continues to fail Maori, Pacific and ethnic communities.”
Some communities have problems accessing systems and services here because of structural barriers, the report says.
Key social indicators point to significant inequalities between ethnic groups in New Zealand, the report says, with life expectancy for Maori and Pacific people lower than for Europeans. …
The report aims to encourage discussion about initiatives to address inequalities by creating systemic change and to facilitate discussion between government agencies. ….
“Unfortunately, negative political opinion is sometimes used to erode small gains, programmes are shut down after only a few years’ implementation, targeted funding is cut and a refusal to see inequality in terms of ethnicity, despite evidence to the contrary, drives policy development.”
Just as one current example of what is going on:
Union members and their supporters occupied three Burger King stores on Queen St in protest at their treatment of immigrant workers. The move came as another union launched a network to improve the conditions of migrant workers. …
The union has taken cases to the Employment Relations Authority, saying Burger King is exploiting and abusing what it says is mainly a migrant work force that’s too scared to speak out. “It is because the company has told their managers to get them to quit their union because if they did speak to the union their visa wouldn’t be extended and then they’d have to go back to their homeland,” says Jerry Prakash of Unite Union. …
Mr Whitehead believes the number of migrant workers being exploited all across New Zealand could be in the hundreds of thousands.
From the same piece:
Burger King denies this, saying it doesn’t threaten its workers and that they are free to join unions.
Well they would, wouldn’t they. But this kind of protest doesn’t happen for no reason:
More than 40 protesters held an hour-long working conditions “teach-in” outside the Burger King outlet at Aotea Square in Auckland yesterday. … The Unite union national director, Mike Treen, said the protest was to speak up for the company’s workers about a culture of exploitation over pay and individuals being intimidated not to join the union.
We still have a long, long way to go before we eliminate structural discrimination in this country. And we won’t make any progress at all under a beneficiary-bashing “one law for all” type National government.