Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres has pushed himself into the news again; he's in a lather about the wrapping paper above; Stuff reports:
Golliwog wrapping paper has appeared on the shelves of a popular chain store.
Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said the paper, retailing for $2 at Look Sharp stores, was likely to cause offence.
"I would prefer if they withdrew products like that from sale," he said. "Often in New Zealand we don't realise what a controversial history they have in other countries."
A spokesman for Look Sharp initially appeared to be unaware of the Golliwog wrapping paper. After agreeing to an interview, he then failed to return messages.
De Bres said he received several complaints yearly from New Zealanders offended by Golliwog-related products.
Oddly though, de Bres' views aren't attracting widespread support; read on:
But Jeff Green, a prominent figure in the Tainui iwi, said the issue showed New Zealand was increasingly becoming bogged down with political correctness.
"I think it is nonsense...who cares whether someone has Golliwog wrapping? There are more important things in life and around the world to get concerned about than people worried about whether someone calls someone else a `Golliwog' or is wrapping presents in Golliwog wrapping [paper]."
During a stint as a TV basketball commentator he was censured by TVNZ for describing former Tall Blacks international Miles Pearce as "looking like a Golliwog".
"I didn't know what I had said wrong," he said. "I was gobsmacked...I don't see it as racist or anything like that."
Jeff Green is quite right; there are far more important things for Joris de Bres to be worrying himself about than perceived racism from something so harmless. We have an interest in a retail outlet (although we're not involved directly), and Golliwogs sell because kids of all colours love to play with them; it's as simple as that.
We're actually surprised that Mr de Bres survived three years of the John Key-led government. Perhaps this attempt at censorship will cause the powers-that-be to take at look at his tenure, and come to the inevitable decision that Mr de Bres' view if what constitutes offence and racism are completely out of step with the bviews of an overwhelming majority of New Zealanders.