Let’s see if Susan Devoy can make a better fist of it than Joris as our Race Relations Commissioner

Alf was hugely buoyed by news that Joris de Bres is moving on.

His good friend and colleague, the formidable Crusher Collins, has named Dame Susan Devoy to take over as Race Relations Commissioner.

She announced the news (here) today –

“Dame Susan is a proud New Zealander who is highly motivated to contribute positively to New Zealand society.

“Her communication and relationship management skills, coupled with experience working with diverse groups, are key areas of strength.

“Dame Susan has sound governance experience and mature judgement. I am confident she will be a sensible and intelligent voice for race relations issues,” Ms Collins said.

Dame Susan has been appointed for a five-year term and takes up her new role on 1 April 2013.

It seems de Bres recently concluded his second term in the office.

Alf imagines this was widely welcomed and celebrated, although he was not invited to any Good Riddance Joris parties.

For what it’s worth, Crusher’s media statement said the Race Relations Commissioner is a member of the Human Rights Commission.

The Commission is an independent Crown entity which works with government and civil society to promote respect for human rights, encourage harmonious race relations and equal employment opportunities, and to resolve complaints about discrimination and related issues.

Frankly, this office has been high on Alf’s list of government agencies that should be closed.

Dunno where Joris will finish up.

Alf did have an idea: what about helping Hone Harawira to craft statements that won’t get him into trouble with the Human Rights Act?

But he had second thoughts.

Joris is not the best bloke for spotting such indelicate statements, as you will recall by going here.

Maori Party Mp Hone Harawira’s “offensive” email did not breach the Human Rights Act, the Race Relations Commissioner says.

Mr Harawira lashed out at white people over criticism that he bunked off a work trip to visit Paris, accusing “white motherf…ers” of “puritanical bullshit” for expecting him to follow the rules in an email exchange.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres said he believed the email Mr Harawira sent was “offensive”, but did not breach the Human Rights Act because it was a freedom of speech.

More than 20 complaints about the email were made to the commission.

But Joris would not take any action against the stroppy Hone, he told Radio New Zealand.

Mind you, maybe there wasn’t much he could do.

Alf recalls an explanation about the constraints on his powers here.

This only reinforces the view that we would be better off without such an office.

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