Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

TVNZ survey question about Maori branded racist and offensive

Kelvin Davis says the 'offensive' question feeds the attitude that there is special treatment for Maori. Photo / Michael Cunningham
Kelvin Davis says the 'offensive' question feeds the attitude that there is special treatment for Maori. Photo / Michael Cunningham

Labour's Maori Affairs spokesman Kelvin Davis says a question about special treatment for Maori in a TVNZ survey is racist and offensive.

The KiwiMeter survey on TVNZ's website is aimed at assessing New Zealanders' attitudes on a range of issues from sport to immigration. Among them it asks people to say whether they agree or disagree with the statement: "Maori should not receive any special treatment."

Mr Davis said it was a leading question and would feed the attitude that there was special treatment for Maori. "It's out and out racist. Were there any other questions that were targeting any other ethnicity? No. Just the Maori one."

Mr Davis said it was not a scientific survey but a "gimmick" for TVNZ and it should take that part of the survey down. Labour had been in touch with TVNZ about it, but without success.

TVNZ head of news and current affairs John Gillespie told RNZ National he would not remove the question. "We think that in the survey it is important to be robust and to have questions in it that reflect all parts of society so we won't be taking out questions where we thought long and hard about why they're in there."

Labour leader Andrew Little said the question was "cack handed" and involved a presupposition that was not necessarily correct. "The question that has caused offence presupposes something that smacks more of prejudice. It presupposes something that is highly arguable and begs the question that there is special treatment anyway. I thought it was an odd question to ask."

On RNZ National, other Maori MPs including Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei and Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox also criticised that aspect of the survey as racist.

- NZ Herald

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