Sunday, March 07, 2004

Do you want to reduce inequality or not?

Shock! Horror! Racial privilege! WINZ gives its caseworkers greater incentives for placing Maori than pakeha! How can this possibly be equal?

Look at the respective unemployment rates. 10% for Maori, 8.8% for pacific peoples, and 3.2% for pakeha. How can that possibly be equal?

The government has a policy goal of reducing this inequality and targetting Maori and Polynesian unemployment. It translates this goal into action on the frontline by writing it directly into the KPIs of relevant staff. Interestingly, it also targets youth and disabled unemployment, and directs its staff in exactly the same way - but people don't seem to have any problem with that.

I can't help but feel that those crying "privilege" here want to pretend the whole problem doesn't exist. Perhaps the question we should be asking them is "do you think that higher Maori unemployment is a bad thing, and what, if anything, do you think the government should do about it?"