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The Vote: Is New Zealand a Racist Country?


MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday 17 April, 2013

IS NEW ZEALAND A RACIST COUNTRY?

TV3 INVITES KIWIS TO HAVE THEIR SAY ON APRIL 24 WITH ‘THE VOTE’

On April 24, The Vote will ask Kiwis their opinion on the statement ‘New Zealand is a racist country’ in the second episode of TV3’s national debate programme, screening at 8.30pm on Wednesday night.

This month, Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner each lead a team to debate whether ‘New Zealand is a racist country'. A coin toss will determine who leads the ‘For’ and ‘Against’ teams, and broadcaster and lawyer, Linda Clark is the referee, charged with keeping the debaters in line and on topic.

Race relations has long been dry tinder in New Zealand, ready to spark debate at a few inflammatory words.

From first contact, when Abel Tasman and Maori clashed in Murderer’s Bay in 1642, the meeting of different cultures and world-views in this country has caused tension. This year has seen debate around Richard Prosser’s “Wogistan” column, Danish MP Marie Krarup’s view that a Maori powhiri was “uncivilised and grotesque”, statistics showing Maori youth apprehended by police are more likely to be charged than Pakeha youth, an apology and $170m compensation for Tuhoe, and the United Nations calling our race relations “best practice”.

So race relations are never far from the headlines… or dinner table conversation.

Does this country need to take a good hard look at itself when it comes to how we treat other ethnicities? Or are our race relations something to be proud of?

Guyon Espiner says:
“New Zealanders like to say that we give each other a fair go regardless, that Jack’s as good as his master. But is that attitude colour blind? As the face of our population changes it’s increasingly vital that we treat one another right and it’ll be fascinating to see how New Zealanders vote on this one.

“This is such an important conversation to have, so we’re hoping everyone has their say on the night."

Duncan Garner adds:
“It’s a hard question to answer honestly and a lot of Kiwis could go either way. Look at other countries and you might say we have some of the best race relations in the world. Then again we’ve been saying that for decades and there are still some disturbing statistics and stories out there.

“It’ll be great to hear from all kinds of Kiwis – Pakeha, Maori, Pacific Islanders and those from Asia and further afield."

Joining Duncan and Guyon next week are four panellists: FOR – Leader to be determined by coin toss Damon Salesa is Associate Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland. Damon received his doctorate from Oxford University where he was the first Rhodes Scholar of Pacific Island descent, and has published widely on the Pacific, New Zealand, empire, race, migration, politics and colonial policy.

John Tamihere is a broadcaster, activist and CEO of the Waipareira Trust. JT co-hosts a nationwide talkback show on Radio LIVE, and fronts TV3 programme, Think Tank. A former MP who trained as a lawyer, he has held offices including Chairman of the Maori Select Affairs Committee, Minister of Youth Affairs, and Associate Minister of Maori Affairs. JT is of Ngati Porou, Whakatohea and Tainui, Irish and Scottish descent.

AGAINST - Leader to be determined by coin toss Mai Chen is Managing Partner of Chen Palmer New Zealand Public Law Specialists, Barristers and Solicitors, and Adjunct Professor in Commercial and Public Law at the University of Auckland Business School. Born in Taiwan, Mai Chen arrived in New Zealand at the age of six and understands the challenges for migrant families starting life in a new country.

Phil Goff’s 30-year parliamentary career includes being leader of the Opposition from 2008 to 2011 and portfolios that include education, employment, foreign affairs and defence. As MP for Mt Roskill, he represents the electorate with the highest percentage of people not born in New Zealand. Phil’s father was born in Britain and came to New Zealand as a baby.

The Vote is competitive current affairs – a monthly series of entertaining and informative national debates on the big issues facing New Zealanders. The debates take place in theatres with audience participation and voting, but the opinion that matters most is that of the audience watching at home.

Viewers are encouraged to vote for free at www.TheVote.co.nz, via Twitter @TheVoteNZ and Facebook at The Vote NZ. Viewers can also text their vote by texting ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to 3920 at a cost of 20 cents per text.

The Vote is produced by TV3’s News and Current Affairs division with funding from NZ On Air, and screens once every four weeks in the same timeslot as 3rd Degree.

- ends –

3rd Degree presents ‘The Vote’.

NEW ZEALAND IS A RACIST COUNTRY

Wednesday 24 April, 8.30pm on TV3.

Website: www.TheVote.co.nz

Twitter: twitter.com/TheVoteNZ

Facebook: facebook.com/TheVoteNZ


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