Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Samoans are overtaxed

Well, that was a tasty little episode of Media7. A brave Tim Pankhurst fronted to a visibly agitated Oscar Kightley and bolshie Barbara Dreaver to justify the front page spread based on a 'research paper' barely transcribed off a cocktail napkin. Everyone had a fair point to make.

The DomPost editor had a point on the right to publish. I gather he was choosing his words to match his sentiments. I'd like to think that he was implying that the threshold between data and information that broadsheets deliver is changing. This could be justified in part as a reaction to the competition with other media sources for instant information. It would go some way into Pankhurst's decision to publish part of the Tuhoi tapping, for example. In the interweb, the truth will out. To compete, the broadsheets must clutch for exclusive material wherever they can.

As it went, the story was rebuffed with great vigour, the research paper shown to be more mistyped, under-baked and beer-stained than an undergraduate essay. Little wonder the author failed to appear on the show. Quick! Recant before they crucify you!

But Barbara Dreaver and Oscar Kightley argued with justification that the damage is done. After all, there are sufficient politically-correct ways to be racist without resorting to overt bashing as well. ie. smoking, obesity, youth crime, drug abuse, academic achievement, unemployment. Thank Dagg for Bro Town, eh.

The Samoans, dear readers, are overtaxed.

Up in Auckland, you won't find many honkies doing the hard slog in the hotel Housekeeping departments. It's the Island women doing the unglamorous sheet-changing. Likewise, the Mum and Dad office cleaners who sweep up after the suits at dusk.

I once knew a girl who lived in Cannons Creek. JM's Mum was Scottish, the Dad an Islander. In her late teens, JM was the only full time worker in the large family. After the taxman had snatched their pound of PAYE from her hotel wages, the majority of her pay went into the family fund, leaving her a pitiful allowance for her labours. This, not WINZ, was the Samoan welfare system at work.

Sure, there are a myriad of entitlements that this family would get now. Sure, there's oodles of toll-free numbers and websites to get the message out. Sure, there's nary a form for every contingency, just as long as the correct documentation and approval has been processed. But between the church and the family, why trust some grey servant from the outside? The most effective welfare is to let the Samoans breadwinners keep more of their own money in the first place.

On a similar vein of immigrant bashing, Gordon Campbell has an excellent introduction to the Immigration Bill before parliament. If you gave three albino gorillas some crayons and a copy of the 1987 Act, they wouldn't come up with a more artless and shitty law.