Most read: Māori doc hits back at insulting inferences that ethnicity is ‘the only reason I got to be a doctor’

A doctor of Māori heritage has written to 1 NEWS, after seeing an article discussing the entrance pathway for Māori medical school students, and the comments that followed. They asked to remain anonymous. This story was first published Friday August 31. 

Hi 1 NEWS.

I’d just like to send you some of my feelings regarding the recent RNZ article about Māori entrance into medical school you published.

Man what an exhausting read those comments were, it’s still amazing to note that inherent racism exists in New Zealand.

Reassuring given that we were one of the first nations to adopt contraception for women, to give women the vote and supported passing the bill for gay marriage - I guess were not as forward thinking as we’d like to think.

Here’s a little background on me. My name's XX, most people call me nurse (you know being a girl and all) but actually I’m a doctor.

I graduated Otago Medical School and am currently working as a surgical registrar. There’s probably a small portion of the crowd who’s had a heart attack by now - yes I’m a GIRL and I’m a DOCTOR, I’m also a GIRL who does SURGERY AND also I’m MĀORI.

I guess you could say that don’t agree with the typical gender/race stereotype.

This argument about Māori entrance into medical school has been around for as long as I can remember and it’s the same people saying the same things over and over again.

Here’s the situation though, nearly none of those people have been to medical school, probably not that many have even been to university, and yet somehow they’ve developed the inherent right to complain about something that A) probably doesn’t affect them and B) they don’t fully understand.

I did an undergraduate degree before applying to medical school. I had good grades (in fact better than some of my non-race-specific colleagues that were accepted).

I applied under the Māori and Pacific Island scheme, I also applied under the rural scheme and got in.

I was never told if it was because I was brown, went to a school in the middle of a farm, or just that I was good enough and you know what? it doesn’t matter a single bit.

One of my classmates on my second day of school piped up saying "must have been easier to get into medical school because you're brown". Turns out I was two grade point averages above his exam results to get into medical school - tell me who deserves to be there out of the two of us now?

The fact of the matter exists that Māori experience a disproportionate burden of disease compared to the general population in New Zealand.

Many Māori also prefer to have Māori practitioners or people who are culturally competent. There’s this thing called equity in society which doesn’t always mean 50/50.

In that respect we must cater to some of our most deprived and most health afflicted populations. Dealing with the health of the most affected populations improves our overall population health and at the end of the day that’s what we in the medical profession are all here for.

People always harp on about the Māori and Pacific entrance as a ‘separate easy route’. Did you all know that there’s a rural entrance programme? Because we need doctors in rural medicine too you know.

I don’t hear a lot of complaints about a special entry route for them but I’m darn sure that it’s easier to change your address than your genetic profile so maybe you want to start paying them some attention too?

The aim of the MAP’s scheme is to facilitate Māori and PI into medical fields. While some call this the ‘easy path’ most are equally, and sometimes more, qualified than their peers.

Just because you're Māori and you’re in med school doesn’t mean you scraped the bottom of the GPA pool - in fact that assumption is just plain disrespectful.

Just to put this in perspective for you I graduated my degree with distinction in two disciplines, I received an award for the highest mark in our final medical school examinations, I was asked to sit distinction exams for nearly all of the faculties in my last year and I got my first pick of hospitals to work at because employees thought I was going to be good at my job.

To say that the only reason I got to be a doctor is because of my ethnicity is actually pretty insulting.

While all this complaining, name calling and distress from the public about an unfounded wave of underqualified Māori doctors goes on I’ve been pretty busy.

I’ve missed both lunch and dinner because I’ve been seeing sick kids and adults in our emergency department. I’ve sat down for approximately the length it takes to wee because my only break today was a toilet stop.

I’ve reviewed my HDU patient, fielded calls from GPs with queries all day and then have just finished my case in theatre for the evening. It’s 11pm as I write this, I’ve been working since 8am and I’ll be on call until 8am tomorrow.

So while you're all complaining and worrying about what sort of mayhem these ‘easy-entry’ doctors are going to cause I’ve just been doing my job.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is you should worry less about how people get to the destination and more about what their like once there.

The colour of your skin, or your gender for that matter, doesn’t influence how successful, compassionate and skilled you’re going to be as a doctor and those are the things the general public should care about.

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Watch: 'We need to fix the bloody road' – MPs engage in heated exchange over deadly stretch of highway into Tauranga

A heated debate in Parliament over a stretch of road near Tauranga ended with the Transport Minister being asked to commit to driving the road himself. 

State Highway 2 between Katikati and Tauranga has seen numerous serious crashes and deaths.

In the last six years to March 2018, 21 people have been killed on the 37-kilometre stretch of road between Katikati and Tauranga.

In Question Time today, National MP Jami-Lee Ross asked Mr Twyford: "Why did he make the funding decision to reduce the State highway improvement budget... a project that would have saved lives on a stretch of road that has seen 86 serious and death crashes in the recent past years?"

Mr Twyford rejected that he made the decision, and said he agreed "with the people of Tauranga that we need to fix the bloody road, the number of crashes is unacceptable".

"We are investing $65 million right now on State Highway 2 between Waihī and Ōmokoroa to make this stretch of road safer."

Hundreds of campaigners marched across Wairoa Bridge today. Source: 1 NEWS

It comes after protesters blocked part of the road in Tauranga on the weekend, calling for major safety upgrades. 

Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller asked the Minister to commit to driving from Ōmokoroa to Tauranga, "to experience first-hand that road, like my constituents do every day?"

"I can't commit to that," Mr Twyford said. "Because I am busy making sure that the Transport Agency... gets on with re-evaluating that project so that we can make the safety improvements on that highway that that Government failed to do over nine years and has spent the last nine months scaremongering about."

$100 million will be spent on safety between Waihi and Omokoroa, but protesters say a four-lane highway must be built.

The Transport Minister agreed it needs to be fixed, as National’s Todd Muller challenged the Minister "to experience the road first-hand". Source: 1 NEWS

'Some links to the Mongrel Mob' – seven charged after BOP police sting sees guns, Hilux vehicles, $21k cash, drugs seized

Police have arrested and charged seven people after executing a number of search warrants in the eastern Bay of Plenty as part of Operation Notus II.

Speaking to media today Senior Sergeant Richard Miller said the operation had "some links to the Mongrel Mob".

Operation Notus II is the second phase of a long-running investigation, led by the National Organised Crime Group, into organised crime and the supply and supplying of methamphetamine and cannabis in the eastern Bay of Plenty region.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller briefed media today. Source: 1 NEWS

Search warrants were conducted this morning in properties in Kawerau, Whakatāne and Te Teko.

The seven are facing a number of charges, including possession for supply, and supplying, methamphetamine and cannabis, as well as firearms-related offending.

They will appear in Whakatāne District Court this afternoon.

Along with methamphetamine and cannabis, 26 firearms and more than $21,000 in cash has been seized.

Three stolen Toyota Hilux utes were recovered from one address in Kawerau, along with a number of power tools.

A stolen Toyota Hilux Surf and trailer were recovered from another address.

Operation Notus, launched in October 2017, revealed the Kawerau Mongrel Mob's involvement in the commercial distribution of meth and cannabis to the community.

As a result of the investigation, 48 people were arrested and almost $3 million in assets were frozen in March 2018.

Acting Eastern Bay of Plenty Area Commander, Senior Sergeant Richard Miller, said, "This was a major disruption to organised crime and methamphetamine supply in EBOP".

Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty
Guns seized during Operation Notus II in the Eastern Bay of Plenty Source: NZ Police


Man, 26, charged over weekend stabbing of another left with life-threatening injuries in Napier

A 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged with grievous bodily harm over the stabbing of another man in Napier at the weekend.

Police say the incident occurred on Bledisloe Road, Maraenui, about 9.45pm on Saturday. 

Police were advised a short time later when a 42-year-old man arrived at the Wellesley Medical Centre with life-threatening injuries.

He remains in Hawke's Bay Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

The man arrested has been remanded in custody and is due to reappear in Hastings District Court in four weeks.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information relevant to the investigation is being urged to contact Hawke’s Bay Police on (06) 873 0500, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police car at night Source: 1 NEWS

Midwives met with silence on pay equity funding model

New Zealand midwives are heading into a "make-or-break" pay talk meeting with the Government today.

The focus of the meeting will be on a funding model co-designed by midwives and the Ministry of Health, as part of a settlement reached when the College of Midwives dropped an earlier pay equity court challenge against the Ministry.

The College of Midwives described the settlement as a legally-binding certainty that addressed their long-standing concerns, and the Government's failure to act on it was a breach of the terms of mediation.

College chief executive Karen Guilliland has hinted at the possibility of starting new legal action over pay equity before a meeting later today with Health Minister David Parker.

Ms Guilliland told Nine to Noon the college believed it had an agreement in principle over the model and was awaiting sign-off, but had since been met with silence.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show that as far back as December last year the Health Ministry was recommending against implementing the funding model.

The documents showed the funding model would cost up to $353 million a year - three times the current funding level, which was considered unaffordable.

It was also likely to impact on wider healthcare funding.

Ms Guilliland said they never expected overnight results, and while community midwives welcomed an 8.9 per cent "catch-up" pay increase announced in Budget 2018, it did little to address the gender pay gap.

Ms Guilliland said it was not unrealistic to expect a trebling of funding, as that was what they believed had been agreed upon.

"It was agreed this was what it would cost, and this was what the value of the work that midwifery did.

"You know, people... when they talk about pay equity seem to forget it will require quite a large injection of funds."

Ms Guilliland did not think they exited the earlier legal action too early.

The Human Rights Commission facilitated the mediation, after the historic gender equity case was filed by the New Zealand College of Midwives in 2016.

Ms Guilliland said the action through the Commission was a principled one based on gender discrimination. She said the college thought it would be a quicker process and because it believed the Ministry, it signed up to the agreement.

"Our problem is one of constant reassurances, constant hope, and false promises."

Ms Guilliland said today's meeting was about ensuring faith within the workforce and getting the Minister's backing.

A petition is being handed over to parliament carrying more than 13,000 signatures. Source: 1 NEWS