Is Racism alive and well in NZ media?

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Labour MPs Shane Jones, Parekura Horomia and Mita Ririnui (Te Arawa) have been getting quite a bashing recently, it probably doesn’t help that they have used their Ministerial credit cards for some seriously inappropriate purchases. But the question we’d like to ask and one which Hone Harawira is asking on his Facebook Page is,

Is racism is not only alive and well, but flourishing in the New Zealand media?

No doubt spending taxpayer money on porn, chinese food, golf clubs and a $900 bike is something to be alarmed at, but why is the focus on our Maori MPs?

The NZ Herald’s report has sparked loads of debate as has Hone’s Facebook question, which has 85 comments at last count, the following comment was particularly insightful:

… It seems that there will always be those within the European culture take delight in “minimising” our people. They have no mana of their own, but take delight in attempting to destroy those of our people called to represent us.

These faceless individuals will use their”position of influence” to engage in their destructive agenda (as viewed in this mornings NZ herald), under the guise of “public good”.

Because you can’t drink fresh water from a “saltwater bore” so it is with those who possess no mana, nothing they produce is of any use-irrespective of the position they hold. But the real trick is..don’t be drawn to drink from their well (saltwater bore) otherwise we become as useless as them. We have their own destiny to fulfil/mana to enhance, lets get on and do that because we don’t need them.

Another key point to come out was the sensational aspect of Mr Jones’ misue (i.e. porn), with another writing saying:

The porn aspect makes Shane Jones’ story spectacular. But you are right … remember how hard Tuku Morgan got bashed for his $89 boxer shorts?

But let’s not remember that was $$ supposedly for Maaori broadcasting, in the same way as taxpayer funds ought to be going to positive things rather than degrading and objectifying people (men and women) in grubby porn.

This whole expose seems to highlight serious problems with MPs’ perceptions of what is right.

And this seems to be a critical point, that is that MPs would feel that it is appropriate to use their credit cards for personal use. Regardless if they intend to pay the monies back.

But then we have strayed from the true issue. Was the initial reporting racist in that it payed particular attention to our Maori MPs?

For instance the National Business Review focused completely on Mr Jones spending.

Here are is a sample of NZ Herald articles on the subject:

  1. Rorting work credit card can cost you job
  2. Ministerial credit card misuse sparks online debate
  3. John Armstrong: Goff must demote Jones boy
  4. Transcript of Shane Jones‘ admission statement
  5. Jones was potential Labour leader, says ex-party president
  6. John Armstrong: Report gives MPs licence to booze
  7. Heatley didn’t intend to deceive, says Key

The Stuff’s reporting seemed to focus less on Maori MPs however the 3rd most commented story was Shane Jones, Minister of Pornography, which in itself says a lot really.

Interesting to note regardless…

9 COMMENTS

  1. Kia Ora korua

    Kei te pewhea korua? I enjoy reading `tangatawhenua' and what's going on in the Maori world. Kei te hoha ahau mo nga racists comments. Maori got a different way of thinking than Pakeha. They mostly think about money and themselves and what's good for them-nevermind anybody else-eh? Well good on them. Maori are different, like if one Maori is hurt by the media like all those Maori MP's for their spending!, we too feel hurt(well some of us) so what?? Warren Cooper spent millions as the Minister of Defence on the North Shore Base. He was given $10,000,000 to up-grade the defence base- but he spent $30,000,000 millions yes, that's facts, and no-one questioned it. That's a hundred more times what our people (Maori) spend in a lifetime. He got away with it too and became the Mayor of Queenstown, South Island after he retired-big deal! When Pakeha do something like that it is hidden or not big news. But when Maori do a little thing- it's big news! Get it Right!

    Kia Ora

    Celia

  2. Kia ora koutou, I first started work in mainstream media in the 1980's. At that time, Maori reporters could be counted on one hand. Each day we were assigned rounds. In our newsroom, avid sportsmen were given the "sports round," a reporter raised on a farm, did "the rural round," a reporter whose husband was in the Police force, did the "police and hospital" round, and so forth. At the time, Maori issues went largely ignored unless it was a huge controversy. But nnly Pakeha reporters could do the "Maori round." So, I had to work twice as hard to charge through boring council meeting articles before writing issues relevant to Maori. Invariably, good stories that should have gone front page would end up on the court page, reason being, the editor told me – in my words, "that's the only page Maori read." That comment sickened me and my interest in daily reporting rapidly waned. I believe what Maori consider as important is way different from what mainstream media thinks. Problem is, when one Maori goes down, we all feel the humiliation. A new problem is surfacing though. With constant negativity, we risk becoming blase and laugh things off. We must guard against that. Meanwhile, when you get gist of an international newspaper being set up for Iwi, support the concept with all of your heart. It's whispering in the wind! And Potaua and Nikolasa? You both do a fine job. I look forward to every issue you put out. So have fun…mwah

  3. I don't think that it's evenhanded at all, virtually of the reporting (this was until Friday) was about SJ, Mita and Pakekura with some bits and pieces about the others.

    If they were condescending, they weren't meant to be. This issue has nothing to do with Maori blaming others (a silly stereotype), the issue is about how the news is covered by mainstream media.

    TangataWhenua.com tries to be transparent when it comes to this, we are about providing a Maori perspective on (mostly) Maori and indigenous issues and focus primarily on Good News that uplifts and inspires, when we do cover news like this we have to ask like other commentators, is what is being covered fair and balanced and if it were about a non-Maori would it be covered to the same extent and in the same fashion?

    Don't know much about the Tau/Tuku saga, Potaua gave me some of that korero, but he has some thoughts on your reply and will try to post something in the next couple of days.

  4. Think you might find that Tuku and Tau and the boys left of their own accord – guess it depends on whose story your willing to accept doesn't it. Tau didn't get put out either did he – he shifted back to the National Party even though Jenny Shiplee had broken the agreement that Tau as Deputy Leader of New Zealand First had co-signed to.

    However in the media that I am following their focus appear to be Shane Jones and Chris Carter. Is that not evenhanded?

    Your comments to Mirsh are a bit condesending aren't they?

  5. Kia ora all – thanks for your comments Myra, Mirsh, MJ and Martin.

    MJ, I totally get the salaciousness of an MP watching porn and well the golf clubs might also get some coverage but what about the rest, I think the $22,000 for a month long trip to Europe by Jim Anderton is WAY more newsworthy and far more of an issue then the porn.

    Martin, the whole Winston issue is laughable, if you remember (regarding misuse of funds) it was Winston who used the whole undie-gate as an excuse to get rid of Tuku and crew for his own political gains.

    Mirsh, clearly you haven't actually reflected on THIS issue or no doubt you would have a completely different perspective. Your simple statement "Why is it so common that Maori blame their problems on others" is a perfect example of what Maori have to deal with day in and day out (i.e. negative stereotypes).

    I'd suggest that once you do away with what are no doubt "build in" stereotypes you'll find how sorely mistaken you are.

    The fact that mainstream NZ media is focusing on (mostly) the Maori MPs is completely unequal to how they are dealing with non-Maori MPs misuse, as the following details there are far worse offenders who have gotten only a fraction of the media coverage!

    The first issue is misuse of credit cards, the second issue is the extent of the misuse (i.e. how much, for what and why) and finally the third issue is, was it paid back and when. The rest is all about race and in the case of Mr Jones, sex.

    Labour MP David Cunliffe

    $1435.93 for two rooms in the Westbury Hotel, Mayfair, central London.

    Progressive Leader Jim Anderton – $22,000 during a month-long trip to Europe in 2003. It included:

    $324 gift from Kirkcaldie & Stains before leaving.

    $3500 for Hotel Hilton in Frankfurt, including $2100 on "room charges".

    $1000 at a restaurant in Vienna.

    $50 golf round at Millbrook Resort.

    $620 massage for himself and his wife.

    $300 guided tour of the Taj Mahal.

    Clayton Cosgrove – $6388 for nine-day stay in an executive deluxe room at China World Motel, Beijing.

    $1674 suit; $56 tie; $61 shirt and socks, after losing his luggage.

    $712 five-hour taxi ride.

    $265 cabin luggage bag.

    Labour MP George Hawkins

    $190 on suit hire.

    $50 on flowers.

    Former Labour MP Harry Duynhoven

    $240 minibar bill.

    $30 book – Workplace Bullying.

    Former Labour MP Marian Hobbs

    $39.50 Hell Pizza delivered – two pizzas, two packets of wedges and 1.5-litre bottle of Coke.

    Labour MP Trevor Mallard (paid by staff)

    About $1200 "limousine" hire in New York.

    $200 food at Wellington's Backbencher pub for a staff team-building function.

    ACT leader Rodney Hide

    $20.99 full-length dress mirror for his office.

  6. So did Hone come out in support of Winston Peters as a respected Maori leader when in 2008 he was being hounded relentlessly by this same media?? Or is it only when Hone feels that it is politically helpful that he decides to play the racist card?

  7. … so you think that if it had been, say, Phil Goff or Charles Chauvel buying pornographic movies and golf clubs on the taxpayer dollar, then the media wouldn't have thought that worthy of headlines?……

  8. Why is it so common that Maori blame their problems on others? Look at the facts. It has nothing to do with race, as you constantly seem to think, so stop pulling out the race card! A serious reality check is needed if you are shouting racism 24/7.

  9. I first started work as a Maori Affairs Cadet in the Labour Department in 1983. There were lots of snares and sarcastic comments about my position and I remember being befriended by an older Maori gentleman who worked in the department and took on the role as my mentor, making sure I got everything I was supposed to in my work experience.

    I remember him sitting down with me one day and telling me, "Myra, you know as a Maori you have to work twice as hard as your Pakeha counterparts because if anything goes wrong, you will fall a lot harder than any of them would for the same mistake."

    These words have found their way back to me in light of Hone's comments about racism, in this instance, within government and media and I have to ask myself … has anything really changed at all??

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