Monday, February 16, 2004

It's his job

NZPols thinks that race relations commissioner Joris de Bres should not have "waded in". I disagree. He would have been remiss in his duty had he not decided to get involved.

The comments themselves were fairly mild. Pointing out that some statements were misleading and warning politicians to avoid using "broad slogans that did not reflect facts" to incite racial disharmony is accurate, reasonable, and well within his job description. The fact that National was singled out is more a reflection of the quality of their statements rather than an indication of bias.

The current debate is at its core about issues of privilege and equality between races, and may have far-reaching consequences for race-relations in this country. It's the commissioner's job to comment and act as a moderator on those sorts of issues, and he can't very well stop doing it simply because a political party has decided to stir things up in the pursuit of votes. The issue is simply too important for that.