MEDIAWATCH: Moana vs Luxon – why the social investment model is a neoliberal welfare experiment

Māori broadcaster Moana Maniapoto accuses Christopher Luxon of ‘misinformation’ in co-governance debate

Veteran Māori broadcaster Moana Maniapoto accused National leader Christopher Luxon of “misinformation” during a fiery debate about co-governance. 

In an episode of Te Ao with Moana on Māori TV, Luxon explained to Maniapoto the reasons for his opposition to the Government’s centralised co-governance arrangements, like the new Māori Health Authority. 

“We’ve had co-governance in the past-National government that’s been bounded around Treaty claims and iwi managing local natural resources essentially working with local government,” Luxon explained. 

“You’re not helping with that conversation,” Maniapoto told Luxon. “You’re using words like separatism.”

He replied: “I’m not.”

But Luxon’s predecessor Judith Collins did. She accused the Government of “separatism by stealth” for introducing the Māori Health Authority and scrapping the ability for Māori wards to be overturned by a local poll. 

“I’m up for that conversation. That’s why I’m here with you today. I’m coming on your show because you want to discuss these issues,” Luxon told Maniapoto. 

Luxon’s suggestion was to instead focus on former Prime Minister and National leader Bill English’s ‘social investment model‘ – “targeting support on the basis of need”.

Once again, Moana reminds everyone why she is one of the best current affairs interviewers in the game right now. Her evisceration of Luxon was as brilliant as it was excruciating.

Luxon is incredibly polished and can nail a CEO presentation, but he is actually quite flakey on the details and he has a history of having to walk back raw meat policy he throws out a day after he’s thrown it out.

He says what he thinks National voters want to hear as opposed to an actual ideological belief in anything.

The real danger of Luxon is not his garden variety dog whistling race baiting, it’s his slavish devotion to the social investment model of welfare that gave us the neoliberal experiment that is Oranga Tamariki.

Again, I don’t think he believes any of this, I think he’s going through the motions which maybe more dangerous as the social investment model is a poisoned chalice he intends us to drink from regardless of its poison.

So what is the ‘social investment’ model?

Let’s look at Oranga Tamariki.

The argument is that children from backgrounds with specific features were the worst in terms of cost to the state, so if the state stepped in and removed the children quickly enough, that cost will fall.To do this they passed law reducing the legal rights of parents, streamlined their 0800 numbers and weaponised uplifts.

They also ensured that people with children taken from them are ineligible for legal aid so they couldn’t fight back legally.

Oranga Tamariki has always been about saving the State money and the welfare of the child is secondary to that!

Since the Royal Inquiry into Historic Abuse, the Public Services Commission has done all it can to remove OT oversight and roll it into the ERO so that it saves the State money if children are abused in our care.

Public Services Commission Boss Peter Hughes was the chief executive at MSD in the 2000s and oversaw obscene tactics that included hiring private detectives to dig dirt on victims who were complaining about being abused in state care in a Test case that if MSD had lost would have cost the State untold in damages.

Peter and his elite Wellington Bureaucratic class want to remove the threat of costs and damages from poorly funded social services and the ‘social investment model’ is a means to spend money on the most costliest of those social problems without actually universally funding services.

For the State, amputating social responsibilities and the legal threat of damages frees them up from having to spend any money in the first place.

Rather than creating more taxes like a Capital Gains Tax or Financial Transaction Tax to properly funded the welfare of children in State care, it’s easier to amputate the responsibility altogether.

Social Investment is a bullshit term for ending universal provision of welfare under the guise of providing more resource for the most at risk target demographic.

We need properly funded child welfare where their welfare is the issue, not cost saving to the State! We need actual oversight, to my astonishment Jacinda is refusing to provide that.

Why on earth isn’t Moana on prime time TVNZ?


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