May 31, 2013
Sharples calls out cartoonist for racism weasel words
Māori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples is telling two newspaper editors and their cartoonist to be honest about their racism.
The editors of the Press and the Marlborough Times have justified running cartoons by Al Nisbett as opinion and denied they were racist.
The cartoons feature people who are obviously Māori or Polynesian talking about how the new Weetbix in schools programme will allow them to spend their money on smoking and gambling.
Dr Sharples says the artist was deliberately ridiculing the sort of people he thought of as the poor.
"And you’ve had an editor and the cartoonist and even some of the hosts on tv saying 'he had two whites in there,' That's rubbish. You can see what he's saying. Admit it and then leave it to the race relations conciliator of those who protest against it, but don’t pretend it’s not what it is," he says.
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy has condemned the cartoons as offensive and stigmatising, but says they don’t reach the threshold where she can act.
Dame Susan says something must clearly be seen to be inciting racial disharmony before she could act.
She encouraged people to complain to the Human Rights Commission, the editors of the newspapers, and the Press Council.
Deborah Morris-Travers from Every Child Counts says half of the 270,000 children living in poverty are Pakeha.
She says child poverty isn’t a parental choice but a result of political decisions taken by successive governments.
Copyright © 2013, UMA Broadcasting Ltd