Monday, June 17, 2013

Dame Susan fires a shot

Dame Susan Devoy has put Winston Peters on notice; TVNZ reports:

And she said while she stayed silent when Winston Peters recently played the race card in blaming Chinese migrants for most of Auckland's problems, she expects to lock horns with him at some stage in the lead up to next year's election.
Devoy said she has exercised her judgement about what's worth getting involved in and she didn't want to give the New Zealand First leader "any oxygen".
"Winston has carried on this tirade for a long time and I don't think anything I'm going to say is going to make a leopard change his spots."
But Devoy said there is a broader human rights issue if Peters continues to stigmatise one population to his own benefit.

It is about time that someone in the Race Relations role called Winston Peters on his xenophobic, bullying behaviour. Peters has been spouting his anti-Asian rhetoric since the mid 1990's, when he made the infamous "rows of ostentatious houses" speech. Oddly enough, the worst of Peters' xenophobia seems to happen in election years.

Of course the supreme irony for Peters was serving as Helen Clark's Foreign Minister between 2005 and 2008, when Clark stood him down in the wake of the Owen Glenn donation row. During that time, Phil Goff negotiated a Free Trade Agreement with China, which Peters voted against, despite the obvious benefits to New Zealand exporters.

We hope that Dame Susan makes good on her promise becasue she is quite correct; a leopard does not change its spots. Winston Peters has built a following based on fear-mongering about immigration, especially Asian immigration, and most recently that from China. That the facts contradict Peters makes no difference whatsoever; facts have always been a trivial inconvenience (or should that be an Inconvenient Truth?) to the NZ First leader.

If Dame Susan Devoy succeeds in ridding New Zealand of the ignorance and prejudice that underpins Winston Peters' rhetoric, she will have done us all a big favour.


bsprout said...

I felt the the appointment of Dame Susan lacked good process and it was not a position that matched her skills. While I still believe this I was impressed by her interview on Q+A and feel that she may do the job well. As ex-concilliator Gregory Fortuin said, she will be more likely to get the support of "the mainstream".

Winston may vey well provide her with her biggest test.

Suzy said...

So as such an anti racist, you'll never comment over at Whaleoil again? That place is riddled with – nay encourages - overt and disgusting racists. To partake is to condone. Jesus knows this. It would make you a hypocrite. What's it to be? Just be honest. It feels good.

Keeping Stock said...

I have no control on what other people comment on someone else's blog Suzy. But I think you'll find that my stance both on racism and on Winston's Peters' xenophobia has been consistent over the almost six years that I have been blogging.

Keeping Stock said...

He may indeed bsprout. But good on her for not shying away from it as Joris deBres did.

Anonymous said...

Have we forgotten that Dame Susan was a member of the Sustainability council, widely supported by the green party? I wonder if Dame Susan is challenging Winston for political gain rather than work reasons? Timing seems interesting to me.
Mr E

Suzy said...

So will you continue to bear witness to the Whaleoil racists or will you turn from the forum in which they thrive, and take a more righteous path? Your friend Cameron is obviously happy for it to go on under his watch, providing a soapbox and oxygen to them. Actions speak louder than words.