Formal complaint to the Race Relations Commissioner from Taxpayers’ Union
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union has lodged a formal complaint regarding the recent Capital and Coast District Health Board’s decision to move Māori and Pacific patients to the front of their elective surgery queues. We welcome Race Relations Commissioner Dr Meng Foon’s recent comments on radio that on the basis of our complaint he would “look into” the policy. However, he needs to go much further.
Taxpayer-funded health resources should be allocated solely on clinical need in all instances, not racial preference. Even if we are wrong, elective surgery waiting lists are not like primary health care, where race is sometimes used as a cheap proxy for need. For elective surgery, precise clinical data is available to determine the need of each and every individual. That is how the lists are constructed. The arguments that a particular race has higher or lower (on average) need is invalid.
The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is disappointed that Dr Foon has chosen to not speak up on this issue. He had time to acknowledge Rotuman Language Week on his Facebook page but apparently not enough time to address this clearly unfair policy which is based on ethnicity. The Capital and Coast District Health Board’s policy is a critical race relations issue and Dr Foon should bring the full force of his office against it immediately.
We are also extremely concerned by comments by Sean Plunket on his radio show that he was aware of ‘anecdotal evidence’ of other District Health Boards considering the same policy. This policy needs to be stopped before it starts.