Asian New Zealanders and international students continue to experience racial discrimination and harassment, according to a report released by Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres.
It seems that discrimination has increased over the last year (perhaps this is a result of a ‘kiwis first’ mentality during the recession?) with Asians being the most discriminated against. Overall around 10% of New Zealanders experienced discrimination and it looks like police still don’t collect data on racially motivated crimes, despite recommendations in the United Nations Periodic Review of New Zealand and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
“Public perceptions of discrimination against ethnic groups, and particularly Asians, have increased in the past 12 months. Two-thirds of survey respondents nominated an ethnic group when asked who they thought was most discriminated in New Zealand, and 28 per cent identified Asians. In a further question, when given a list of 14 named groups to choose from, 75 per cent identified Asians as the most discriminated against.
The 2009 Statistics New Zealand general social survey also asked questions about discrimination. The survey showed 10 per cent of New Zealanders experienced discrimination. The most common grounds were race, ethnic group or skin colour, and Asians experienced the most discrimination.
Examples of discrimination and harassment regularly heard by the Commission included discrimination in employment, verbal abuse (often shouted from people in cars), having water bombs and eggs thrown at them, abuse by neighbours, rubbish being tipped over the fence, damage to property and cars, bullying in schools, and harassment in the workplace.
“This type of behavior is not carried out by the majority of New Zealanders, but it is common and everyone needs to help put a stop to it,” said Mr de Bres.
Mr de Bres made five recommendations for addressing the situation:
* Encouraging people to share stories of discrimination, harassment and abuse (in the workplace, education sector, health sector and communities).
* Countering the relatively high incidence of discrimination against Asian New Zealanders, through government, businesses, school and community action.
* Ensuring the safety of international students, including effective reporting mechanisms, through the education sector, police and local government action.
* Police collection of data on racially motivated crime, as recommended by the United Nations Periodic Review of New Zealand and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
* Formally welcoming and acknowledging international students and temporary migrant workers in communities (for example, at Race Relations Day events).
The review of racial discrimination and harassment forms part of the Commission’s annual Race Relations Report, which will be released in Auckland on 11 March.”
In November we talked about how the Maori party Co-vice president Heta Hingston said a lot of racism in New Zealand was covered up:
“racism … in New Zealand, is covert. Very few of the ardent anti-Maori, anti-Islander, anti-Asian front up… (the secrecy) is the worst part about racism that is rife in New Zealand. There are so many good Pakehas being tarred with the brush of those other racists that is all hidden.”
Which is why police need to start collecting data on racially motivated crimes.
And in September we covered a Press report that everyday ‘race hate’ is rife in places like Christchurch. At that time Joris de Bres said race-hate crimes were a problem not just in Christchurch but around the country and were occurring more often than was reported to police:
“It’s becoming more and more urgent for police to gather data of racial abuse. The Government does agree but has said it’s not a priority. People needed to report their experience and schools needed a culture of tolerance and respect, he said.”
Well his words have been proven to be true and as racial discrimination has continued to increase. Perhaps the government should now give this issue priority and stop worrying about what it will do to New Zealand’s international reputation, or the crime figures.
Measure and deal with this problem before the Rugby World Cup, for everyone’s sakes.
For blog posts about Racism in New Zealand please click HERE
Today’s posts – click here