Dame Susan may step on Peters
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says she may step in if Winston Peters continues to ‘stigmatise one population to his own benefit’
Dame Susan says she expects New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters will play the race card in the lead up to the next election.
“I think what Winston will do, and I think it’s been talked about by other experts and academics in the field in relation to his speech on Sin City, is to use the race card,” she said on TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning.
Asked if she’d get involved if Mr Peters continued in that vein, Dame Susan said “Well, I will. I’ll have to, and particularly if people come to the Commission, not that that will
border on making a complaint, but there’s a broader human rights issue here in that he will continue to stigmatise one population to his own benefit.”
“Winston has carried on this tirade for a long time, and I don’t think anything that I’m going to say is going to actually make a leopard change his spots, to be perfectly honest,” she said.
Dame Susan also said in her opinion the Al Nisbett cartoon published was racist. “People say it’s just a joke, it’s funny and whatever. And I say, ‘Yes, but if you’ve never been the butt of that joke, if you’ve never been the population that is stereotyped and stigmatised all your life, how can you begin to understand how offensive that is?’”
Even though the cartoon did not meet the legal threshold, Dame Susan said “the law is not the be all and end all of everything”.
“We have to look at our own behaviours and attitudes. And therefore, you know, I’d like to think that those in the media would be encouraged to do that as well. I mean, you know, sometimes we have to look and say, ‘This is not right.’”
Watch the full interview here.