The Nisbet cartoons (in the Marlborough Express and The Press) caused a lot of fuss yesterday. For the record, here they are:
Oh my aching sides.
Race relations commissioner Susan Devoy said:
Ms Devoy said the Marlborough Express cartoon was offensive and appalling.
“It continues to stereotype certain populations and it continues to stigmatise people who live in poverty, particularly children,” she said.
The cartoons were stereotyping Polynesians as spending their money on cigarettes and gambling. “That is wrong … Some parents living in poverty do their very, very, very best to feed their children, and probably don’t even rely on food in schools and other things,” Ms Devoy said.
The cartoons did not reach the level of racism within the commission’s inquiries and complaints process. The threshold under the law was “very high” and was about inciting racial disharmony. “Perhaps it is not right that the threshold is that high” but that was a matter for the Government, she said.
The Human Rights Commission could still address the issue, and she encouraged people to complain to the commission, the editors of the newspapers and the Press Council. Ms Devoy said the editors should apologise.
In the same article cartoonist Al Nisbet said:
Nisbet said he was not racist, and the cartoons were not intended to be so. Rather, it was directed at anyone who complained about poverty and “blow their money on booze, fags and pokies”.
“They [complainers] always point at the dark figures; they never look at the white ones,” he said.
There might arguably be some “white” figures in the first cartoon, but not in the second – so they are pretty hard to “look at”.
Some useful contact details:
Human Rights Commission (probably “Office of Human Rights Proceedings”)
The contact for the Race Relations Commission leads to the same page as the above
The Marlborough Express
The Press Council