Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Playing the "Maori card", part II

After a pre-christmas spat, ACT has finally made up its mind about spin strategy, and released its findings on the value of services Maori receive from the government. It's exactly what was expected - an attempt to stir up racial disharmony so as to harness it towards ACT's anti-government, anti-poor, anti-everyone-but-the-rich agenda.

The central plank in the argument is the claim that "tax paid should ideally equal the benefit received". This of course denies that one of the chief purposes of government is the provision of services for all, which necessarily involves redistribution and some taxpayers subsidizing others. Furthermore, it also denies one of the chief tenents of this country: that such services should include decent healthcare and education. But in the ACT worldview, schools for the poor are just another form of welfare; it's not as if you need to be able to read or count to flip burgers at McDonald's anyway.

(My previous post which points out that Maori are underfunded on a per-capita basis can be found here).