Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Audit of Human Rights Commission Comments Sought

ACT Justice Spokesman Stephen Franks is asking the Race Relations Conciliator to audit public utterances made by Human Rights Commissioners in the past few years so that the public can be satisfied the Commission is untainted by racism.

"I have written to Gregory Fortuin in light of his proposal last week to screen comments made by 'high profile' New Zealanders for racism. It is very important before such action is taken that the Human Rights Commission has its own house in order. Clearly the actions of Ella Henry would cast doubts on that.

"Margaret Wilson, in selecting her Commissioners, omitted the usual consultation process with opposition parties to ensure multi-partisan support. The result was the appointment of some of her politically correct cronies ' presumably as part of Ms Wilson's plan to make covert changes to our constitution.

"Ms Henry was one of Ms Wilson's appointments. Regardless of the way Ms Henry was quickly dispatched after discovery of her grossly unwise actions, a racist cloud has now been hung over the commission.

"I hope Mr Fortuin will accede to my request. If he and the Commission are determined to scrutinise the comments of 'high profile' New Zealanders, the Commission's own backyard must first be seen to be clean," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

LETTER ATTACHED

24 August 2001

Gregory Fortuin

Race Relations Conciliator

PO Box 12-411

Thorndon

WELLINGTON

Dear Greg


Monitoring Racist Speech

I have reflected on our conversation earlier this week. I agree that you need to establish early that you are entirely even-handed in these matters, and that you will not shrink from calling a racist spade what it is, whoever is using it.

You want to establish moral authority as a person pushing only one barrow, the cause of New Zealanders who want our government to be colour blind. Then race and culture are simply matters of individual choice and expression. If you insist on people being treated as infinitely variable individuals, not Maori or Pakeha, you will have the moral authority to combat the instinctive racists. You will need all that authority (and luck) to deal with the more sinister mob, those who calculatedly foster race consciousness to advance their own political ambitions.

You plan to review comments of public figures over an extended period, to look for patterns of racist bias, or even unwise though unintended incitement of racism. In view of the controversy surrounding Associate Minister of Justice Margaret Wilson's selection of Human Rights Commissioners, and today's resignation of Ella Henry I suggest you would do the Commission a service, and advance the objectives of your office, by running your vetting ruler first over the utterances of your fellow Commissioners.

You (and the Commission) could gain substantial moral authority if you could stand before Maori and Pakeha New Zealanders to say that the Commission's own backyard is clean before appearing to threaten free political speech of others.

I think this is particularly important because the Hon. Margaret Wilson in selecting her Commissioners omitted the usual consultation process with opposition parties to ensure multi-partisan support.

For good reason she is suspected of despising parts of our current constitution. She is known to have a PC social engineering agenda. In these circumstances the mana of the Commission as an impartial body will be hard to establish anyway. My preliminary analysis of the so called restructuring Bill, the Human Rights Amendment, introduced last week indicates your Race Relations Office will be subservient, and unavoidably contaminated by the contempt the Commission may deserve.

If you can collect and publish the recorded statements of new Commissioners, assuming they show the fair-mindedness we should all expect, you will have served the Commission well.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Franks MP

ACT New Zealand

PS Do you agree with Rajen Prasad's statements on Tairawhiti Polytechnic? I believe that mild criticism of material like that reported to have been used at Tairawhiti represents a greater threat to racial tolerance than the occasional utterances of some public figures who may be in your sights.

Ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little...

“The advice I have received indicates that it is likely to be around February before the re-entry proper gets underway, by breaching the 30m seal.” More>>

 

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuilding: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

Govt Loses In Supreme Court: Call For Debate On Prisoners' Right To Vote

The court earlier this week upheld a High Court decision which found that a law restricting a prisoner's right to vote was inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels