Race relations commissioner Meng Foon. Photo: supplied

A message to NZ party leaders on election 2020, minorities and vilification

The race relations commissioner, Meng Foon, has just sent the following letter to leaders of New Zealand political parties.

Tēnā koe, Talofa, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Kia orana, 你好, Namaste.

My role as Race Relations Commissioner is to promote and enhance harmonious communities in our diverse nation. As the leader of a political party who manages development of policy and campaigning in the 2020 general election, you will advocate a vision for Aotearoa.

For this reason, I am writing to share my advice for your party during the campaign period and beyond.

In addition to the Covid-19 pandemic we are still in, there are so many pressing issues facing Aotearoa New Zealand including lack of housing, rising unemployment, the need for training, climate change, family violence and much more.

The debate around racism globally and locally is important. But, I wish to remind you and your party to focus on issues rather than singling out minority communities for political gain. To use a rugby analogy, play the ball and not the person; and follow the rules.

I encourage you to debate and promote policies that will build a better Aotearoa. I call on you to present your position in a way that brings attention to your policies – without scapegoating or inciting ill will towards minority groups.

The Human Rights Commission encourages and promotes the freedom of speech of all political parties in this and every election. With this right though comes the great responsibility to not vilify or dehumanise people.

As a leader of a political party you have an important role. I encourage your leadership team to promote an equal society, where all are acknowledged for their contributions.

My door is always open to all, but my role is non-partisan and I will maintain neutrality. I will ensure an even-handed approach to publicly calling matters to account should this be necessary.

I wish you all the best in your campaign, as serving our country is an honour.

Te Pōtitanga 2020 Ki Tua Hoki kia kaua tātou e whakaparahako i ngā iwi kē

Tēnā koe, Talofa, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Kia orana, 你好,Namaste.

Kei taku tūranga hei Kaikōmihana Whakawhanaunga ā-Iwi ngā mahi whakanui i te kotahitanga i ngā hapori i tō tātou whenua kanorau. Ko koe te kaiārahi o tētahi rōpū tōrangapū hei whakahaere i te whanaketanga kaupapahere, whakatairanga hoki i te pōtitanga whānui o te tau 2020, ka hora i tō tirohanga whakamua mō Aotearoa.

Koianei te take e tuhi ana au ki a koe hei hoatu i aku tohutohu ki tō pāti i roto i te wā kimi pōti ā haere ake nei.

Ahakoa e noho ana tātou ki raro i ngā taumahatanga e pā ana ki te mate urutā COVID-19, he maha anō ngā take e pā ana ki Aotearoa, arā ngā take whare, te pikinga o te koremahi, ngā whāinga akoranga, te wera haeretanga o te ao, ngā patunga ā-whānau me ētāhi atu take.

He take nui te kaikiri ki te ao ki konei hoki. Nō reira taku kōrero ki a koe kia arohia ngā take, kia kaua e aro kē ki ngā hapori tokoiti nei ngā nama hei take tōrangapū. Ka huri au ki tētahi kōrero whutupōro, whakamahia te pōro, kaua ko te tangata, whāia ngā ture.

Kia kaha ki a koe e taupatupatu nei e whakatairanga nei i ngā kaupapahere e pai ake ai a Aotearoa. Ko taku inoi ki a koe, kia horahia ō kaupapa, me aro rawa ki ō kaupapa – hei aha te whakaiti i ngā rōpū tokoiti nei.

Kei te tautoko Te Tari Tika Tangata i ngā reo o ngā rōpū tōrangapū katoa i tēnei wā pōti, i ngā pōtitanga katoa hoki. Kei tēnei mōtikatanga te haepapa kia kaua e whakaiti e whakahahani rānei i te tangata.

He tūranga whakahirahira tō tūranga whakahaere rōpū tōrangapū. Kei te aki au i tō tira whakahaere ki te hanga hapori ōrite, e aro nei tātou ki ngā koha o tērā o tērā.

Kei te tuwhera taku kuaha i ngā wā katoa, heoi anō me noho tika taku tūranga kia kaua e tītaha ki tētahi taha tōrangapū. Māku e whai tikanga, ka mahi ōrite au ahakoa tērā pea ka whai wā au ki te whakaatu i ngā hē o ētahi.

Kia kaha ki a koe i tēnei pōtitanga, he hōnore anō te tū a te mema Pāremata hei ārahi i te motu.

Kia ora Xie Xie
Meng Foon 



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