Over the past week, we have launched our "What is racism" campaign, where we have demanded our Government answers the question: what exactly is racism?
It was only last year the Police launched an investigation into bias and racism within policing practices at a time when the escalation of violent crime was causing many New Zealanders to live in fear.
With this in mind, on 12 April 2023, I wrote to the Minister of Police and asked:
"What is the definition of racism? Please answer this as it pertains to the Ministry of Police and your role as minister. When your ministry deals with racism or discusses it, what definition do they use?”
This question shouldn't be hard to define, especially if they have been investigating the issue over the past year.
Yesterday I received their response:
"The OIA allows people to request official information held by Ministers and specified government agencies (agencies). The OIA cannot be used to force Ministers or agencies to engage in debate or to create justifications or explanations in relation to something a person might be interested in. There is no obligation to create new information to answer an OIA request."
So this police research, which has cost taxpayers two million dollars, was spent to investigate something that that has no definition within the Police.
When New Zealanders challenge being divided by race and being treated differently before the law, the accusation of racism is easily thrown around to stifle important conversations.
Yet when we ask to know what racism means, they claim that they have no obligation to create new information.
Do we not have a right to know what we are funding? Not to mention what we are being accused of!
New Zealanders need to know that all of us will be afforded equal protection, and we need your help to make sure of this.
The definition of racism must not be allowed to be manipulated to suit a political narrative.
Send a clear message to this Government that, no matter who the target is, racism will not be tolerated.