(With apologies to Dame Susan Devoy) An open letter from Thomas Thexton, 21, a Newstalk ZB producer who lives in Auckland.

Let's get our act together, New Zealand.

We are living in a time where we can print organs, or send data-collecting robots to planets 500 million kilometres away. After centuries of civilisation humanity has developed, evolved and progressed exponentially in ways, which would blow the minds of our ancestors.

Yet we are still tackling the damaging, energy-taxing issues of racism and discrimination.


Today, Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy published an open letter to the people of New Zealand announcing a new campaign to tackle racism and discrimination.

With more than 400 cases reported each year, and I suspect a significantly larger number go unreported, it is a serious issue in what is touted as one of the best places to live in the world.

I don't know many people who would openly admit that they have racist, sexist or discriminatory tendencies, but I have heard far too many times in my life the pre-cursor, "I'm not racist, but".

What I have observed in New Zealand is a kind of throwaway, casual discrimination. It's the kind that you say to your mates on smoko break, or on the sports field. And it goes further than just comments against race.

We don't really mean it when we say, "she should get back in the kitchen", but it doesn't mean it isn't damaging and hurtful should the wrong person overhear.

I genuinely believe that racism and discrimination are dying out with the younger generation. Ideologies of the past held racist stereotypes as normal and even expected, and we have all heard Uncle Pete telling the poorly timed racist or sexist joke at Christmas lunch.

As Generation Z moves into positions of influence there has been a noticeable increase in how society tolerates people of all creed, colour and sexuality. However, this isn't a reason to sit back and wait until ideals and values of the past filter out with the generations that hold them.

All of us sit here and criticise Donald Trump's disgusting rhetoric on the biggest stage in the world but, to be honest, I'm overheating from the giant glasshouse we are living in right now.

Think of this as an open letter as well.

We are better than this New Zealand. I applaud Dame Susan Devoy and her team for taking a step towards addressing this acidic issue. It will provide a platform for the sharing of stories of racial intolerance and this shows shows some leadership from the front towards tackling this problem.

The next move is up to us.

Don't let your mate make that causal throwaway homophobic or racist comment. Stand up against an issue that is far too primitive to be considered worthy of sitting at the table of the 21st century.

It sounds cliché but we are one people. I'd much rather spend my time not liking Bill because he is a dick, not because he was born a different colour.

As a country that sets the bar in so many aspects of life, let's make New Zealand one of the greatest places to live on earth for everyone.

I have room to improve myself.

Let's sort it out.