You will have read about New Zealand achieving the highest accolade for social progress in a report released today by a Washington think-tank. The following is a cut and paste of what was specifically written about NZ. Check out the italicised (my emphasis) section. Makes you wonder how bad it must be in other countries.
Still, I have often inwardly reflected, if the poor Maori statistics were removed from many indicators, NZ looks pretty good. But I think to actually give expression to this indicates a disregard for Maori and particularly Maori children. Swept under the carpet no less. Just like we used to do in the "good old days":
New ZealandXavier Black, Senior Analyst Corporate Responsibility – Deloitte New ZealandNew Zealand’s strong performance on the 2014 Social Progress Index is, in part, a product of the country’s unique history. Developed as a colony of Great Britain, but with a deliberately more egalitarian outlook, New Zealand has taken a comparatively progressive approach in recognizing indigenous rights. Acknowledgment of the importance of self-determination has impacted not only Māori (the indigenous people) but the societal development of New Zealand as a multicultural nation.This egalitarian tradition is reflected in a strong tradition of welfare provision. New Zealand citizens’ access to basic human needs and the foundations of wellbeing were provided by the state, and a number of such welfare provisions continue to the present day, despite a transition into more neo-liberal politics since the 1980s. State provision of education (and health to varying degrees) is entrenched within New Zealand, and as a result the country consistently rates well in this (ranked second on Access to Basic Knowledge and fourth on Access to Advanced Education), with themarked exception of a few groups.New Zealand is also recognized internationally as having a strong human rights record, ranking first on Personal Rights and Personal Freedom and Choice, and fourth on Tolerance and Inclusion.A strong and independent judiciary system has power to enforce the rights affirmed through the Bill of Rights Act (1990) and the Human Rights Act (1993) while institutions exist to resolve unlawful discrimination (such as the Human Rights Commission) or protect the people from government(such as the Ombudsmen). Since the 1980s, there has been significant progress in the hearing and settlement of historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi and the protection and revival of the Maori language. More recently, New Zealand has made gains in endorsing marriage equality. NewZealand women also fare well, with a proud history of being the first nation to grant women the right to vote—resulting in 2 women becoming prime ministers over the last 20 years. While New Zealand has made significant gains in access and participation of women across a number of fields, violence against women, pay inequality and limited gender diversity at the top (in both the private and public sector) continue to persist as systemic and frustrating challenges.New Zealand also faces some significant perennial challenges, on which there seems to be little progress. Persistent disadvantage is experienced by Maori in terms of social and economic development. Maori represented 50.6% of the prison population in 2013, despite making up only 15.4% of the population. Further, while gaps in academic achievement between Maori and non-Maori are narrowing, they remain stubbornly wide. The place of children in New Zealand is also of concern with suggestions that the lives of up to 20% of New Zealand children are neither as safe nor nurturing as they should be. The ranking of 31st in child mortality demonstrates that insufficientattention is being paid to childhood injury, and at the far end of the spectrum, is partly evidenced by a 68% increase in recorded violent offences against children between 2008 and 2013.The structural change to New Zealand’s economy in the 1980’s resulted in considerable change across the board, particularly focused on welfare provision; and the country continues to search for the optimal balance between market and state to address some of New Zealand’s more persistentchallenges. Like other countries, New Zealand is debating the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the role of the state in the 21st century, as a platform for sustained improvements in economic development and social progress.