Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Race Relations in Aotearoa New Zealand

well, what a lot of things were happening in the political arena today. winston peters looks to be facing the end of his career, although i find it hard to believe that he will be beaten by the issues around the owen glenn donation. the fact that close-up's on-line poll had 30% of people not wanting him to be sacked as foreign minister was interesting. given that polls like this are hugely biased, and usually to the right, it was a surprising result. of course, it could mean every nz first party supporter in the country rang in 5 times. but if that wasn't the case, then mr peters may still get his 5% of the vote, if he can survive the current scandal.

funniest thing today was seeing john key trying to be tough and failing badly on close up. all he could confirm was that he wouldn't have mr peters in his cabinet; but he couldn't rule out going into coalition with nz first. what a difference the absence of paul henry has made in the past month or so. mike hosking has been doing a great job of asking the tough questions and demanding a straight answer. that he does so across the board and without favour is to his credit.

then there was the decision on the tasers. not sure that i support this one, even with all the provisions they have in place ie can't be carried by officers (have to be in the police car, not on their person); officers have to be properly trained to use them, and i think i heard something about an in-built recording mechanism. i have no doubt that police officers face some dangerous situations where their personal safety is at risk. but tasers just don't seem to be the right answer - they're pretty nasty and the statistics tariana turia quoted about the greater use of tasers against people of colour just make me feel wary. nonetheless, with the majority of parties supporting the move (the maori party and the greens were the exceptions), it looks like they will be used.

and finally, there was the emissions trading scheme which now has enough support to pass through all its stages before the election, which is great.

as promised yesterday, i've found the list of recipients of the diversity action awards:

Auckland Interfaith Council; Asia New Zealand Foundation; Changemakers Refugee Forum; Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand; Marlborough Migrant Centre; National Association of ESOL Home Tutors; New Plymouth District Council; TVNZ's Tagata Pasifika; Christchurch Art Gallery; and Waitakere City Libraries.

and also waikato museum and asia downunder. at the awards ceremony, the reasoning for each of the awards was given, and each of these were very worthy recipients.

the diversity forum also saw the launch of the statement on race relations in nz. i thought that the bill of rights would have covered all of this, but the statement does go much further. so while it includes freedom from discrimination and freedom of expression, it goes much further:

1. acknowledging the Treaty as the nation's founding document
2. freedom from discrimination
3. freedom of expression, including respecting the rights of others

4. the right to be free from harm
5. the opportunity to be involved in decision-making
6. the right to decent work, education, health services and housing
7. the right of newcomers to enjoy the same rights and opportunities as all New Zealanders
8. the opportunity to learn about our diverse society
9. the right to practise our own cultures and use our own languages
10. the responsibility to respect the rights and freedoms of others and to contribute to harmonious race relations.

it's a pity that this has been overshadowed by the other news of the day. these statements are well worth discussing and debating around the country. number 5, for example, could have significant implications as would some of the others. it's time we had a healthy debate about this, one held without the usual nastiness and attempts at point scoring.

1 comment:

Ben R said...

"nonetheless, with the majority of parties supporting the move (the maori party and the greens were the exceptions), it looks like they will be used."

Will be particularly useful for frontline female officers I imagine. Hopefully they will also defuse situations without struggles or guns being used.