MPs are calling for TVNZ to pull “racist” questions from its KiwiMeter survey.
Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said parts of the survey – designed to find out how “Kiwi” we are – aimed at inciting racial intolerance.
The KiwiMeter survey asks New Zealanders questions about nationhood and, in the values section, touches on Māori culture.
One of the questions asks whether Māori should not have special treatment.
Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis said the question was “out and out racism” and it needed to be removed from the survey.
“It just evokes images of Don Brash 2004: implying that Maori have special treatment, I’d like to know what special treatment they’re talking about.
He’s an MP for an electorate where eligibility is dependent on your blood ancestry and he doesn’t know what they’re talking about?
What is especially worrying about this, is they are trying to censor and control research. They’re saying that because they have a view that there is no special treatment, you shouldn’t even be allowed to ask if people have that view. It is profoundly dangerous.
Now one can critique the wording of the question. I’d personally would have asked a question along the lines of “Do you think programmes that target Maori are justified” but nevertheless the way the question is phrased is designed to see if people agree with a sentiment.
No question should be off limits. If you want to ask “Do you think people of Race X are inferior” you are allowed to. For how else can you find out how many people have that view (which is repugnant).
TVNZ head of news and current affairs John Gillespie said he would not apologise for the question.
“We think that in the survey it is important to be robust and to have questions in it that reflect all parts of society so we won’t be taking out questions where we thought long and hard about why they’re in there.”
Clifton van der Linden, the chief executive of Canadian company Vox Pop Labs which was in charge of the survey, said Davis’ claims were “categorically false”.
The survey reflected views that already existed, he said.
“Asking the question doesn’t imply Māori received special treatment….
“We can learn more about the mechanisms through which racism and prejudices operate and find ways to combat these prejudices.
“If you don’t ask the question, how do you hope to find the answer?”
Good on TVNZ for not backing down. This political correctness must be resisted.