The Police Association has called for Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon to retract his claim that "police are racist".
Foon made the comment today during a radio interview in which he was discussing the future of the television show Police Ten 7.
Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking, Foon said the show did "target more brown people than white people so therefore it is racist".
Foon cited evidence that Māori and Pasifika were overwhelmingly more likely to be subject to force from the police, such as use of dogs and Tasers.
The 2019 Tactical Options Report from police revealed that on a per capita basis Māori were 7.2 more likely than Pākehā to be on the receiving end of such force including OC (pepper) spray, empty hand tactics, Taser and firearms.
Asked by Hosking if the statistics he cited reflected more on the actions of those being arrested, Foon held firm.
"The police are racist," he said.
Foon also defended the TV show, saying Ten 7 was a "good programme" that helped communities to solve crime but argued that they need to "proportionalise the filming of brown people".
Police Association president Chris Cahill said Foon's statement detracted from the increasing diversity of recruits graduating through the Royal New Zealand Police College whose very presence would influence the future of policing in Aotearoa.
"This blanket assertion from Mr Foon is nothing less than a body blow to the many hard-working police officers, including Māori, Pasifika, Asian, Indian, Pakistani and those from other diverse backgrounds who make up the New Zealand Police, but have now been lumped in one 'racist' basket."
Foon said he has called Cahill and the pair have agreed to meet and discuss the matter.
"As Race Relations Commissioner I would have thought Mr Foon would use his position to promote an informed debate about the many issues which contribute to the over-representation of Māori in negative statistics across our society, including justice, education, health, family violence, drug use and mental health," Cahill said.
"Many societal and family failures for Māori are already well in play by the time they come to the attention of police."
The association said Foon quoted statistics from Police's 2019 Tactical Options Report which showed Māori are more than seven times more likely than Pākehā to be subjected to force such as tasers, pepper spray and firearms.
But Cahill said such data was out of context without the background behind the offending.
"That this country's Race Relations Commissioner would put the blame on police, and then double down on that, is a waste of an opportunity to consider all parts of this picture," Cahill said.
"It seems Foon, now on record with a sweeping claim about police being racist, has excluded himself from bringing the skills and knowledge of his position to any future work police may want to do on an issue it is committed to addressing."
Foon's comment followed calls by Manukau Ward councillor Efeso Collins for TVNZ to scrap the show.
Collins said to RNZ that the show feeds on stereotypes - particularly of young brown men being brutish.
"I think if you look across the world, the fact that the US has dropped shows like Cops, which are all these chewing gum TV shows, that do nothing but you chew on something, get some flavour out of them, and then you spit them out.
"I think it's high time that a chewing gum show like Police Ten 7 was spat out of the New Zealand TV vernacular, because there's absolutely no need for it any more."