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MANA President calls for Dame Susan’s termination

MANA President calls for Dame Susan’s termination on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

“It’s so disturbing that someone with a clearly expressed, racist viewpoint can be appointed to a job that’s about providing independent leadership and advice on race relations, including public education on the Treaty of Waitangi”, says Annette Sykes, President of MANA. “I’m drafting an official letter of complaint to the Governor-General and the Minister of Justice, and asking that Dame Susan’s appointment as Race Relations Commissioner be terminated.”

Ms Sykes asserts that Dame Susan’s appointment is in breach of the Human Rights Act 1993 as she fails to meet the appointment criteria set out in sections 11(1) and 13 of the Act, which require Commissioners to have knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi and the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and an understanding of race relations in New Zealand, and of the origins and development of those relations.

“Her remarks in the Bay of Plenty Times in February show a huge lack of knowledge and understanding about the Treaty of Waitangi and Waitangi Day. Waitangi Day has, and continues to be, both a day of celebration and a time to raise and discuss past and present breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi by the Crown and the impacts that these breaches have on the lives of whānau, hapū, and iwi. To claim that the raising of human rights abuses are “political shenanigans” is deeply concerning.”

Ms Sykes is also concerned that the appointment of Dame Susan is politically motivated and has not followed due process.

“I’m also asking for an investigation into how and by whom Dame Susan was assessed against the job description and position criteria and deemed the most suitable appointment in the face of these obvious short-comings. It's just not right and it isn't the first time National has bypassed the proper processes for appointing Commissioners to the Human Rights Commission.

“We’ve had some really great and brave race relations leaders in the past – Pita Sharples and Rajen Prasad come most immediately to mind. We should make sure this continues.”

ENDS

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