Boris de Bres has been quick off the mark to find fault with the latest headline-grabbing blast at whites from Margaret Mutu.
Probably that’s because the Sunday Star-Times has gone to him for comment before the latest headline-grabbing ideas have been published, to add spice to its story.
If it had not found people to disagree with Mutu, it would not have been able to report on a “White immigrants row”.
But it’s too late for Boris to change Alf’s mind about our need for a race relations commissioner.
Alf says we don’t need one, and moreover he does not want to suppress expressions of racist opinions, because if people are discouraged from expressing racist opinions, then we don’t know who is and who is not a racist.
This time the target of Mutu’s provocative thinking is white immigants (oh, and let’s not forget that de Bres is a white immigrant).
The SST gives her thinking more credence than it deserves by describing her as “a Maori academic” (although she is that) rather than as a Maori radical.
It’s her Maori radical ideas that become the stuff of newspaper headlines.
But come to think of it, maybe the news media should start sitting in on her university lectures to hear what she is teaching her students.
This time Mutu is calling for measures of the sort that Don Brash persistently denounces, only to be denounced in turn as a racist.
He wants New Zealand to have one law for all, pure and simple with no laws that favour one ethnic group over another.
Mutu does not want one law for all. She wants our immigration laws to restrict immigration by whites because they pose a threat to race relations due to their “white supremacist” attitudes.
She thus thoroughly fortifies the findings of a Department of Labour report which found Maori are more likely to express anti-immigration sentiment than Pakeha or any other ethnic group.
Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University’s department of Maori studies, agreed with the findings and called on the government to restrict the number of white migrants arriving from countries such as South Africa, England and the United States as they brought attitudes destructive to Maori.
“They do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of white supremacy, and that is fostered by the country,” she said.
De Bres , who migrated here from the Netherlands, has “hit out” at Mutu’s view.
He says there is no justification for anybody to discriminate on the basis of colour, race or nationality.
“We should not stop people coming on the basis on their skin. It’s racial prejudice and racial discrimination.”
He cautioned that racist views were not limited to one ethnic group.
Fair to say, Mutu’s colour bar would not affect Asians.
Fair to say, too, she sees different shades of white.
She is happy to welcome white immigrants “who understood issues of racism against Maori”.
“They are in a minority just like Pakeha in this country. You have a minority of Pakeha who are very good, they recognise the racism, they object to it and speak out strongly against it.”
How would the immigration authorities find out if an applicant understood those issues?
By requiring them to study in her classes, maybe, and to come out with an A pass before they are eligible to stay here permanently.
The Labour Department survey found Maori respondents were the most likely to agree with negative statements about immigrants, such as that they threaten New Zealand culture and steal jobs from Kiwis.
And they were more likely to disagree that immigrants contribute to New Zealand’s culture and economy.
At this point, poor old Boris couldn’t help himself.
He said something contradictory to the evidence of the survey, to put Maori in a better light.
De Bres said he recently attended a celebration at the Maori King’s residence where different migrant communities were welcomed onto the marae, proving many Maori are welcoming.
“The positive thing to do is for Maori and migrants to engage more to understand each other.”
Massey University sociologist Paul Spoonley probably sums things up nicely in saying anti-immigration sentiment is fed by Maori fears that multicultural policies were diminishing policies concerning Maori.