Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Face Of Racism in NZ

Every country has 'em: racists. Sometimes they grumble in private: others are in full public view. Hone Harawira is one of the latter.
The Maori Party MP, recently on parliamentary business in Brussels with wife in tow, thought he'd skip a meeting and go sightseeing in Paris. Ahhhh, another Rodney Hide! But wait – there's more!
Bite me, ya white motherf****ers!Back in New Zealand, he boasted in a newspaper column about how much he and his wife enjoyed their trip. Media hounds sniffed a potential misuse of taxpayers' money and bayed for blood. Hone responded that he doesn't care about such criticism, because he answered only to his constituents, and only "boring" people would deny him his fun.
Then the former director of the Waitangi Tribunal, Buddy Mikaere asked him via email who'd paid for his wife to accompany him. Hone let loose with both barrels, claiming Buddy was just parroting "white man bullshit", and that white motherf*****s had been "raping our lands and ripping us off for centuries and all of a sudden you want me to play along with their puritanical bullshit." Here's the full email.
Prime Minister John Key has labelled the email "deeply offensive" and he wants action from coalition partner the Maori Party because, although Harawira cleverly apologised for the language he used, there was no apology for the sentiment (after all, he's held those sentiments throughout his separatist/activist life).
No-one can make such racially-enflaming statements publically without repercussions. Like all of us, he's entitled to his own views but his position as an elected Member of Parliament is not a (figurative) 'bulletproof' platform for public poisoned prose.
PS: 11 Nov.2009 - to date, the NZ Human Rights Commission has received a record 250 complaints about Harawira's comments! (Final total reached was over 800!!)
PS: 13 Nov.2009 - a Black Friday indeed for Hone...his party is saying "Jump or be pushed": read more. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy...
PS: 15 Nov.2009 - Hone digs his heels in, saying he can't understand why he's been asked to resign. He must be the only person in NZ who doesn't get it!


Pierre St Clair said...

I thought NZ was supposed to be a happy country. Sad to findout you have same problems as other countries. We get a lot of racism here in France. It's tres sad.

Philbee - said...

Thanks for your comment, Pierre.
NZ IS generally a pretty happy place..but like everywhere, there're some who have an axe to grind. When they do it in such a public manner, it becomes big news because we're such a small country.