Structural discrimination

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, August 20th, 2012 - 9 comments
Categories: class, poverty, racism, racism, Unions - Tags: ,

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.

9 comments on “Structural discrimination”

  1. Carol 1

    Yes, this shows how dysfunctional our employment structure is. CEO’s paid a fortune while marginalised workers are exploited and dehumanised.

    And, of course, such corporations are happy to have high unemployment because some workers are grateful for any job, n matter how low the pay and nasty the work conditions.

    http://union.org.nz/news/2012/higher-unemployment-needs-plan

    “There are now 162,000 New Zealanders unemployed, this number has risen by 1.1 percent – these figures continue to be alarmingly high. We need to focus on job creation, and support NZ jobs through government procurement. We need to boost training for Kiwi workers in Christchurch, build trains in New Zealand, retain good Government jobs, increase infrastructure projects, increase skill development programmes, reinstate tertiary spending cuts and stop hoping the market will fix this. Each percentage increase represents real people facing a miserable future unless together we take action.”

    And the stats show that the low paid workers who suffer most in this situation are Maori, Pacific and some other immigrants.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      People without income cannot buy goods and services, shrinking the economy, National love it.

  2. Dr Terry 2

    We appear to have Commissioners for lots of people, and they put out these splendid and well-founded reports. How is it that, as far as I can see, not one such report is treated other than contemptuously by the Government? Is there any great significance in the appointment of Commissioners in this day?

  3. Your excellent article appeared in our Daily News Digest on Discrimination!

  4. aerobubble 4

    Tax and redistribute. Joyce was on the Nation declaring that not taxing capital gains is good for the economy. He’s obviously wrong. Branding, for example, has to be paid for and so products cost more that are branded, there is a huge increase in value in companies who own such brands.
    Taxing an asset, or a capital gain, actually regulates the industry, provides a basis for value, and decreases the burden of taxation from other taxes. so if the government obviously delusional does
    not want a better functioning nation, why the hell would it care about discrimination. National don’t want better economy, they want to conserve the old regime or constant change, of opening up new
    areas to rent seekers. At its core National are corrupt, as Labour was. Nothing has changed because
    there is no good faith agreement, how can there be when the two major parties essential the same.
    Sure Labour says CGT now, but only because even the rent seekers see not doing so is a lose-lose.

  5. Mike Steinberg 5

    Why are Asians omitted from those statistics? I think you’ll find that they have lower imprisonment and unemployment rates than Europeans.

    I suppose that means that Europeans face structural discrimination in NZ??

    • Carol 5.1

      Asians that immigrate to NZ tend to be amongst the better off in their home societies – or at least from the middle income brackets.

      In contrast Maori and Pacific people tend to be amongst the lower income sections of their countries of birth.

      • Mike Steinberg 5.1.1

        There are asians who have been here for several generations though and didn’t necessarily arrive here from the better off sections of society. If structural discrimination was the problem de Bres suggests I would anticipate their intergenerational progress to be poor, but that’s not the case at all.

        Also, the same situation is seen with East Asian migrants in places like Brazil and the US who were brought over as indentured labour. Subsequent generations also tend to do rather well.

        I think you need to consider other bio-cultural factors for these trends.

Leave a Comment

Show Tags

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bring back the Mental Health Commission
    The People’s Mental Health Review is a much needed wake up call for the Government on mental health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I applaud their proposal to restore a Mental Health Commission and their call for ...
    1 day ago
  • And the band played on…
    Making Amy Adams the Housing Minister five months out from the election is just the orchestra playing on as National’s Titanic housing crisis slips below the waves – along with the hopes and dreams of countless Kiwi families, says Labour’s ...
    1 day ago
  • Hotel no place for children in care
    ...
    4 days ago
  • Maybe not, Minister? Nick Smith’s housing measure suppressed
    Sir Humphrey: Minister, remember the Housing Affordability Measure work you asked us to prepare back in 2012? Well, it’s ready now.Minister Smith: Oh goodie, what does it say?Sir Humphrey: Nothing.Minister Smith: Nothing?Sir Humphrey: Well, sir, you asked us to prepare ...
    4 days ago
  • Inflation data shows many New Zealanders are worse off under National
    The latest inflation data from Statistics New Zealand shows that too many New Zealanders are now worse off under the National Government, said Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson “Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) is now running at 2.2 per cent, and ...
    5 days ago
  • Another emergency housing grant blow out
      Emergency housing grants data released today show another blow out in spending on putting homeless people up in motels, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.   ...
    5 days ago
  • Families struggle as hardship grants increase
    The considerable increase in hardship grants shows that more and more Kiwi families are struggling to put food on the table and pay for basic schooling, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    5 days ago
  • More tinkering, no leadership from Nats on immigration
    National’s latest tinkering with the immigration system is another attempt to create the appearance of action without actually doing anything meaningful, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    6 days ago
  • Suicide figures make for grim reading
    The 506 suspected suicides of Kiwis who have been in the care of mental health services in the last four years show that these services are under severe stress, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “If you do the ...
    1 week ago
  • Pay equity deal a victory for determination and unions
    The pay equity settlement revealed today for around 55,000 low-paid workers was hard-won by a determined Kristine Bartlett backed by her union, up against sheer Government resistance to paying Kiwis their fair share, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour welcomes ...
    1 week ago
  • DHB’s forced to make tough choices
    The Minister of Health today admitted that the country’s District Health Boards were having to spend more than their ring fenced expenditure on Mental Health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “The situation is serious with Capital and Coast ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats break emergency housing pledge – deliver just five more places
    Despite National’s promises of 2,200 emergency housing beds, just 737 were provided in the March Quarter, an increase of only five from six months earlier, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Research underlines need for KiwiBuild
    New research showing the social and fiscal benefits of homeownership underlines the need for a massive government-backed building programme like KiwiBuild, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Social data security review too little, too late
    The independent review into the Ministry of Social Development’s individual client level data IT system is too little, too late, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The Minister of Social Development has finally seen some sense and called for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions raised on CERA conflicts
    With the admission that three more former CERA staff members are under suspicion of not appropriately managing conflicts of interest related to the Canterbury rebuild, it’s imperative that CERA’s successor organisation Ōtākaro fronts up to Parliamentary questions, says Labour’s Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to tackle Hutt housing crisis
    Labour will build a mix of 400 state houses and affordable KiwiBuild homes in the Hutt Valley in its first term in government to tackle the housing crisis there, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Housing in the Hutt ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Farewell to John Clarke
    This wonderfully talented man has been claimed by Australia, but how I remember John Clarke is as a young Wellington actor who performed satirical pieces in a show called “Knickers” at Downstage Theatre. The show featured other future luminaries like ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Valedictory Speech
    Te papa pounamu Aotearoa NZ Karanga karanga karanga; Nga tupuna Haere haere haere; Te kahui ora te korowai o tenei whare; E tu e tu ... tutahi tonu Ki a koutou oku hoa mahi ki Te Kawanatanga; Noho mai noho ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Buck stops with Gerry Brownlee
    The fact that the State Services Commission has referred the CERA conflict of interest issue to the Serious Fraud Office is a positive move, but one that raises serious questions about the Government’s oversight of the rebuild, says Labour Canterbury ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers deserve a democratic Education Council
    Teachers around New Zealand reeling from the news that their registration fees could more than double will be even angrier that the National Government has removed their ability to have any say about who sits on the Council that sets ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Free trade backers are simply out of touch
    Are the backers of free trade out of touch with public opinion? This was the question asked when the Chartered Accountants launched their Future of Trade study. I was astonished by the answer in a room of free trade enthusiasts ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • John Clarke aka Fred Dagg will be missed by all Kiwis
    The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “I grew up with Fred Dagg and I am ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s modern approach to monetary policy
    A commitment to full employment and a more transparent process to provide market certainty are the hallmarks of Labour’s proposals for a new approach to monetary policy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s plan for monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy robert.ashe
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens back Labour’s monetary policy reform
    Labour plans to change the way we do monetary policy in New Zealand and the Green Party supports them fully. We’re now of a single mind on this. Labour will move away from our reliance on a single, unelected person ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt drops ball on Masters Games housing squeeze
    Families currently living in emergency accommodation face being forced out onto the street as motel accommodation in Auckland is filled up by contestants and visitors of the World Masters Games in coming weeks, says Labours social development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • State inquiry for Nga Morehu – The Survivors of State Abuse
    The Prime Minister must show humanitarian leadership and launch an independent inquiry into historic claims of abuse of children who were in State care, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coleman – ‘overwhelmed by disinterest’ and ‘conked out’
    Today’s trenchant criticism of the Government’s health policy by Ian Powell the executive director of the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists must trigger action by the Minister, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on Syria
    Like the rest of the world, I have been horrified at the chemical attack on innocent Syrians that led to the deaths of so many men, women and children,” says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “The deliberate attack on civilians as ...
    3 weeks ago
  • The hard truth about that soft drink ad
    I am relieved that Pepsi has pulled its ridiculous commercial that obscenely co-opted the #BlackLivesMatter movement. At the very least, it was an awkward failure that tried too hard to be something it could never be. At its worst, it ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    3 weeks ago
  • Journalism Matters: Interesting the public in the public interest
    Last week I launched two policies to support Kiwi journalism because as Bill Moyers put it, “the quality of democracy and the quality of journalism is deeply intertwined.” Journalism matters because it’s how we discover what’s happening in our world, ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago
  • Homeownership rate hits new low; KiwiBuild needed now
    The homeownership rate has fallen to just 63.1 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand’s newly released Dwelling and Household estimates. That’s down three per cent under National to the lowest level since 1951, confirming the need for Labour’s KiwiBuild ...
    3 weeks ago
  • OECD endorses Labour’s Future of Work approach
    An OECD report released today, highlighting the need for increased support for workers who are made redundant, is a strong endorsement of the direction of Labour’s Future of Work Commission, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “We welcome the OECD’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • The Government knows diddly squat about health funding
    Asked about the funding of the Auckland Regional Public Health Service, the Associate Minister of Health was at sea today on the typhoid outbreak, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   “When I asked Nicky Wagner who was responsible for the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Nicky Wagner blames disability workers for Govt’s funding failure
    Nicky Wagner displayed disrespect and sheer arrogance when she insulted disability support workers today, says Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Poto Williams. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Parata in denial over special education crisis
    Hekia Parata has her head buried in the sand when it comes to the pressure that schools are under as they attempt to cope with an increasing number of children with severe behavioural and other learning support needs, says Labour’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Data-for-funding move hits Privacy roadblock
    The Government’s much-criticised grab for private client data from social service organisations has suffered another defeat after the Privacy Commissioner’s damning report, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “This is a defeat for the Government’s plans to force social ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New research shows need for government-led house building
    Research by economist Shamubeel Eaqub shows the need for the government to lead the building of affordable starter homes, as would happen under Labour’s KiwiBuild policy, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Kiwis need answers on typhoid outbreak
      The Ministry of Health wasn’t told about the typhoid outbreak until 11 days after three people from the same church were admitted to hospital, says Labour’s spokesperson for Health David Clark.   “It is no longer credible for the Minister ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party gets it wrong again on RMA
    The Māori Party is missing the big picture on National’s Resource Management Act reforms by supporting a fundamentally flawed Bill, says Labour’s Local Government spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Maori Party error own goal on GM
    The Maori Party amendment to the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill does not achieve what they say it does on genetic modification, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson David Parker. “Their amendment relates to the new powers given to the Minister to over-ride ...
    3 weeks ago