Thursday, 21 March 2013

Advance fair New Zealand

21st March 2013 - Race Relations Day

New Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy may not be starting until the 1st April 2013, but she has hit the ground running in her role with the Human Rights Commission.

Today is Race Relations Day, marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and Ms Devoy has some innovative ideas she's launching to "encourage harmonious relations between the diverse peoples of New Zealand by encouraging respect for human dignity and the realisation of the human rights of all people in New Zealand."

"We only need to look across the Tasman to witness how Australians celebrate their day," says Ms Devoy, calling for a brand new national day.  "They may be our arch-enemy on the sports field, but you do have to admire the way they celebrate their national day with a great showing of patriotism."

Ms Devoy is concerned about Waitangi Day having lost it's way as a time for New Zealanders to have a "good ol Kiwi barbecue."  So she's keen to reframe it, in line with the lead on racism shown by Australia, and set up a completely new opportunity.  "Waitangi has been hijacked and if it can never be really seen as a day of national celebration then perhaps the time has come to choose another true New Zealand day.  We deserve a day of true celebration and pride."

So this Race Relations Day, the new Commissioner is launching a new slogan:

"Advance fair New Zealand!

Ms Devoy is hoping all New Zealanders will rally behind her cry to be more like Australia when it comes to race and diversity.  The Human Rights Commission is very proud of the leadership Ms Devoy is showing before her role has even officially begun.



Placebogirl said...

Wow. That's...disturbing, to say the least. I live in Australia, and my experience of Australia Day is that it is jingoistic and boozy at best, and celebrates the worst of Australian racism at worst. For our new race relations commissioner tosay that this kind of erasure of history is something we should aspire to is very disappointing indeed (though sadly not as surprising as it should be).

Hugh said...

She's aware that "fair" is a synonym for "pale-skinned", right?

Tamara said...

Was that a media release verbatim?

LudditeJourno said...

Hey peeps - Ms Devoy actually said all of the things here (see links) except "Advance fair New Zealand". But this is satirical, not a real press release from the Human Rights Commission, sorry to confuse.
Yep Hugh, the pun on fair is completely deliberate and connecting to the Australian national anthem of course too.
PlaceboGirl - yes, how on earth someone with responsibility for monitoring racism can be holding up Australia as a model in any way shape or form is extraordinary. Both for non-indigenous peoples of colour in Australia, and for indigenous Australians, treated in some of the most brutal ways colonialism allowed. It's an actual disgrace.

Rebecca said...

Putting aside for a moment that this appointment is an insult (Dame Devoy said in a radio interview that she thought the job would be not very complicated); and the massive cringe we will get when she actually say "some of my best friends are..." (you know she will); putting aside these, one can only wonder why someone so massively unprepared and unqualified for this position has been put into it. It couldn't possibly be related to the National Party wanting to finalise and shut down Treaty claims - it would be rather useful to have an arrogant and privileged race relations commissioner in place to agree that we no longer need to be ashamed (even while inequity grows). And it couldn't possibly be because they'd actually rather not have a race relations commissioner - last time this was suggested many people got upset. Next time they suggest it we'll be cheering in the sidelines. They couldn't possibly be manipulating us this way.

It made me think of a conversation I had with a friend a few months ago where we talked about the human rights abuses in her country of origin. She was saying that part of what led to much of the corruption and tolerance of abuse in her country was the appointment of incompetent officials to key positions, from which they undermined human rights. I guess I didn't expect to be remembering this conversation when Joris' successor was appointed.

Because Dame Devoy is not competent for this role. She has no experience in race relations and what seems to be limited experience in mediating complex debates - even in the areas in which she does have experience.

This is a disgraceful appointment, and you have to wonder why.

Hugh said...

Basically, I think that the Nats don't really believe that the office of the Race Relations Commissioner is necessary or useful, but they haven't got the time or political capital to abolish it.

The most charitable interpretation of this appointment is that they just didn't care and appointed DeVoy because, I dunno, she seems alright I guess. The least charitable appointment is that they hope she'll discredit the institution so much it becomes easy, even popular, to abolish it. It's probably somewhere between the two.

Moz said...

how on earth someone with responsibility for monitoring racism can be holding up Australia as a model

Maybe in a "look how far they've come" way? I mean, it's only 40 years since they recognised that aboriginal Australians are human beings, and already they've legally acknowleged that they might once have owned land! For me, I actually had to come to Oztraya before I really understood how deeply ingrained the racism here is. But that's another story.

Susan Devoy? WTF? I think someone is taking the piss, and it's not LJ.

Zoe Black said...

"Waitangi has been hijacked" - in other words let's stop those Maori's from ruining my white person fantasy that all the issues are NOW RESOLVED. Let's move on with life you pesky brown protesters!

Susan "nobody ever illegally confiscated my squash court" Devoy is the least suitable appointment to public office so far this year. Not surprising that Collins is in awe of her "robust character".

And as for Australia as a model to work from...WTF?!

Susan should decline this position before she does any more damage to race relations in this country.

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