“We’re not given a fair go” says poverty advocate

By Heta Gardiner

The co-chair of Auckland Action Against Poverty Kathleen Paraha says Māori and Pacific Islanders are not getting a fair go from MSD staff.

At the beginning of the week, Kathleen Paraha stood side by side with Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni, at the launch of new facilities at an MSD office in Otara. Even though she liked some of the changes, Paraha says more work needs to be done on how Māori and Pasifika are treated.

When asked if treatment towards those groups was the same as the treatment towards Pākehā she replied “No I don’t think so. I think they’ve been victimised in some cases, they’re not given a chance.”

Paraha later added. “We should be treated as one, with respect.”

But The Minister of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni of both Samoan and Tongan descent, says Māori and Pacifica are not being targeted.

“That’s really hard for me to agree to given I’ve had disabled people talk to me about their negative experiences, I’ve had senior citizens tell me about their negative experiences, as well as Māori, Pacific, Pākehā and other ethnic groups.”

Māori and Pacifika have the highest percentage of people accessing MSD per capita, of all of the ethnicities here in New Zealand.