Pakeha urged to be more generous

February 6th, 2012 at 9:38 am by David Farrar

John Hartevelt at Stuff reports:

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres criticised those Pakeha who still resisted moves to give “special treatment” to disadvantaged Maori, thousands of whom suffered inequality. 

“I still have a sense that there is a lack of generosity in some Pakeha attitudes to Maori and there is a lack of will to see measures taken that will help to remove that disadvantage and there is a lack of understanding of this notion that it is actually fair to deal specifically with people who are suffering unfairness.”

Mr de Bres said he received a “continuing thread of correspondence” against “anything that could be deemed to be a special measure or something that applies particularly to Maori or Pacific people”.

“Every time the issue comes up … then you start to get a level of resistance and resentment and objection.

“I understand where people are coming from when they object to it. All you can really do is continue to have the conversation because, unless you do something about it, the outcomes for everybody are going to be worse in the end.”

In a forthcoming report, Mr de Bres said he would note that 41 per cent of school children in Auckland and Northland were Pakeha. That showed that, if racial inequalities were not addressed, it would lead to negative social outcomes for everyone.

I have no problem with the Government spending money to try and improve employment, educational, health and law & order outcomes for Maori. It is in all of our interest, to have Maori New Zealanders achieve better outcomes.

That does not mean that every programme designed to achieve better outcomes is a good idea though. And it doesn’t mean that programmes have to be delivered purely on racial grounds (although some do). A programme that is effective at improving educational outcomes for low income families will benefit Maori, even if not specifically targeted at them.

If specific targeting does make a programme more effective, then I’m okay with that. But decisions should be based on proven effectiveness. And if they don’t work, then they should stop.

So Joris may have a point on a lack of generosity by some towards lifting outcomes for Maori, but maybe he could also express a view on the generosity of those who called Hekia Parata, Tariana Turia and Pita Sharples “niggers” at Waitangi yesterday. Because fairly or unfairly the actions of those extreme elements contribute significantly to a lack of “generosity” by many.

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Not racist?

August 5th, 2010 at 6:59 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Human Rights Commission says Maori Party MP Hone Harawira needs to consider whether his personal feelings are helpful to race relations.

Good to have the HRC comment.

Mr Harawira said in a weekend newspaper interview he would not feel comfortable if one of his seven children brought home a Pakeha partner, and believed many Pakeha would feel the same about Maori.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said members of the public had contacted the Human Rights Commission about the remarks.

He said Mr Harawira’s comments reflected an “unwelcome prejudice” toward Pakeha, adding that census statistics on babies’ ethnicities contradicted Mr Harawira’s views.

It is prejudice. Especially as it was painted purely negatively towards Pakeha. If Hone had said he prefers his children to date Maori as it helps keeps the Maori culture alive, that would be somewhat different. But he basically said he does not want them dating whiteys – would have no problems with Pacific Islanders.

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said the remarks were not racist and probably mirrored the feelings of many people. …

“I think it’s just not divisive at all. It’s a view point.”

Not racist and not divisive?

So if a Caucasian Member of Parliament came out and said that he would not want his children to date Maori or Pacific Islanders, that would not be racist, and that would not be divisive?

I’m very disappointed. If the Maori Party ever talk about prejudice or racism, then their words are going to be rather hollow in future.

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Where is my certificate?

October 24th, 2009 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

A group of Otaki primary school pupils have been honoured by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres for acting with dignity in dealing with criticism from Wanganui Mayor Michael Laws.

The pupils, aged 11 to 13, at Otaki School’s kura kaupapa unit, were upset with an angry reply from Mr Laws, whom they wrote to in August urging him to insert the letter “h” in Wanganui.

Mr de Bres presented the girls with certificates yesterday to honour their stance.

“Your message to stand up for yourself is clear. You acted with real dignity and calm and quietly stood up for what you thought when dealing with such rubbish from Wanganui’s mayor.

I didn’t know you can now get certificates for standing up to Michael Laws. In 1994 I announced his mock assassination, and I never got a certificate. All I got was to appear in court. So where the hell is my certificate???

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Dom Post on Race Relations Commissioner

May 28th, 2008 at 7:59 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post is not impressed with that the Race Relations Commissioner is launching a a review into the research done by Massey academic Greg Clydesdale into Pacific Island immigration.

Interviewed this week, Mr de Bres seemed as irritated by the fact that the research was done at all and that a media outlet had the temerity to report it as with any “issues” that the study might have raised. The commissioner seems unhappy that the paper gained access to Dr Clydesdale’s research and to believe – erroneously – that those who disagreed with it had no chance to comment.

He needs to reread the article. Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban was quoted as seriously rejecting Dr Clydesdale’s findings, which may well be flawed. So was Samoan Advisory Council spokesman Tino Pereira.

Mr de Bres seems in danger of forgetting this is a democracy, in which academics have the freedom their institutions allow them to comment and critique society and newspapers have the right not only to report such comment and criticism but also to decide what prominence to give what is, by any definition, news. …

Mr de Bres is entitled to his review. But if it does not find that it is totally legitimate for an academic to research immigration policy and for the media to report it, then the review will be flawed. Society is benefited in no way by political correctness taken to extremes.

It does all seem an extreme reaction to one academic study. The more worrying reaction is the reported comments by Labour Minister Shane Jones who allegedly said on Newstalk ZB that he had called Steve Maharey about the author.

The Association of University Staff should be very concerned about this, if correct. To have a Cabinet Minister contact the Vice-Chancellor (and a former colleague) because he disagrees with the research of an academic is obviously inappropriate and intimidating. Let alone boasting about it on radio and suggesting the academic should be teaching primary school children only.

So maybe the AUS could take a break from complaining about Massey students winning beauty contests and say something about Massey academics having academic freedom.

This is not to suggest that academic freedom means you can not criticise academics. Far from it. But to personally contact the Vice-Chancellor and advocate he should not be teaching at a tertiary level is very different from merely criticising.

Perhaps Mr Maharey (who seems to think being Vice-Chancellor is a part time job as he is still an MP) could reveal what he said back to Mr Jones.

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