Face of the day **UPDATED

Dame Susan Devoy

Dame Susan Devoy

Today’s face of the day, Susan Devoy, declared a series of cartoons by Al Nisbet to be insensitive but not racist, so I expect a similar result for the cartoon by BoomSlang that Whaleoil published. In order to find the cartoon racist the Human Rights Commission would have to prove that the cartoon was about inciting racial disharmony rather than stimulating debate about a serious issue.

I wonder when her office will bother notifying our editor Cameron Slater that Whaleoil is under investigation. Astoundingly, it has been reported by other media but no contact has been made to tell us that a complaint has been made.

**UPDATE The Human Rights Commission staff must read Whaleoil because a few minutes ago ( 8.25am ) our editor received a call to tell him that they are currently investigating our cartoon and will get back to him when the investigation is completed.

29052013 OPED cartoon, Thursday, May30, Meals in schools poverty

29052013 OPED cartoon, Thursday, May30, Meals in schools poverty

The cartoons did not reach the level of racism within the commission’s inquiries and complaints process. The threshold under the law was “very high” and was about inciting racial disharmony.

“Perhaps it is not right that the threshold is that high,” but that was a matter for the Government, she said.

Asked why anyone should make a complaint about the cartoons when the threshold for what was considered racism was so high, she replied: “I ask myself that all the time.”

Here’s a thought Susan: maybe the Human Rights Commission could stop wasting everyone’s time by making the law clear. Then every Tom, Dick and Harry could stop rushing off to the HRC whenever they get offended. Before they can even lodge a complaint, make them first answer a series of questions to see if their issue is severe enough to be considered.

Here is a tongue-in-cheek suggestion for your questionnaire:

Are you offended…

A) Because the cartoon was published on a far-right hate speech blog run by a toxic sociopath?

B) Because it makes a politically incorrect point that is factual but hurts your feelings?

C) Because that meanie Cameron Slater once wrote something nasty about you and you want to get him in trouble?

D) Because you are Rawshark and you didn’t destroy him last time.

E) All of the above.

Despite that, the Human Rights Commission could still address the issue, and she encouraged people to complain to the commission, the editors of the newspapers and the Press Council.

Devoy said the editors should apologise for running the cartoons.

There was a right to freedom of expression and speech, and people could say and print what they liked even if it was offensive, but they needed to act responsibly.

“I don’t think it was OK for them to print it, I’m just saying that they’re allowed to print it,” she said.

It would not be any more acceptable if just white people were depicted.

“What we’re continuing to do is stigmatise  those families or children who live in poverty, and making the assumptions that they are overweight, that they are brown, and that they spend their money on cigarettes, pokies and gambling… and those are the myths that we need to stop and break down because it’s actually not going to improve the problem of child poverty in New Zealand,” Devoy said.


290513 The Marlborough Express Al Nisbet cartoon

290513 The Marlborough Express Al Nisbet cartoon





THANK YOU for being a subscriber. Because of you Whaleoil is going from strength to strength. It is a little known fact that Whaleoil subscribers are better in bed, good looking and highly intelligent. Sometimes all at once! Please Click Here Now to subscribe to an ad-free Whaleoil.

  • Positan

    The most useless, unneeded, unproductive, PC-stigmatised office in New Zealand. Its presence has served only to increase perceptions of difference between our races – and amplify them.

  • Dumrse

    I think its time Dame SUSAN apologised for bothering to take office. Never mind the editors.

  • oldmanNZ

    when will this woman (oops a sexist remark) come to reality.

    “It would not be any more acceptable if just white people were depicted.”..but no one would call it racist.

    ” spend their money on cigarettes, pokies and gambling… and those are the myths?
    ok maybe not all 3 but definetly on cigarettes and booze.

    and what did she say about these cartoons?

    Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy says Chinese in New Zealand “deserve better than to be singled out”

  • Genevieve

    I’m expecting Dame Susan to say that the WO cartoon perpetuated the myth that Maori children experience a higher rate of abuse than other ethnicities in New Zealand and that this is not helpful in alleviating child poverty. A completely nonsensical statement of course.

  • Uncle Bully

    That office won’t contact WOBH to advise of a complaint, as that would give credence and acceptance that it’s part of the 21st century media. They would prefer to have the masses believe the blog is a maverick outcast and not worthy of acknowledgement.

    Poor them. They can obviously see the writing on the wall, that the face of media is rapidly changing and WOBH will become (has become?) part of the accepted digital mainstream. They don’t like the idea that their stalwarts of the print and TV media will wither and die, just like the dinosaurs they are.

  • localnews

    I feel sorry for Susan. There was a time where she was going to be remembered as a great New Zealander and one of our finest ever sportspeople. It is a classic example of a normal person spending too much time in the nuthouse.

  • Mike

    Next time the government should find a middle class white male tho be the HRC commissioner. Someone who has told off color jokes and been the butt of them.

    Someone who is able to tell when something is deliberately offensive and intended to cause harm… And when it’s just either a bad joke or like these cartoons an inconvenient ugly truth.

    • localnews

      I think they did. I think that Susan was selected for exactly those reasons, to try and break the mould of nutty perpetually offended people in the job.
      In no time at all she has become the maddest of them all. Its a great example of groupthink, rather than leading the department towards saner waters she appears to have been brainwashed. I cant believe Susan Devoy always thought like this.
      It would be fascinating to find the background of some of the people behind the scenes

      • kereru

        Perhaps she’s caught between a rock and a hard place, acting the part to keep her salary while privately thinking differently. Somehow I have my doubts that an individual of true integrity could live with their conscience for long. So it’s more likely she’s grown into the job, as required, and discarded any semblance of impartiality as a result.

  • andrewo

    The problem with bureaucracies is that they’re self-sustaining. You create an office of race commissioner or ombudsman or whatever and pretty soon they’re a department with a hundred staff all seeking to justify their existence.

    • kereru

      You hit the nail on the head. If there isn’t something to make a fuss about invent one to keep your salary rolling in. A culling of unnecessary levels of race relations/human rights bureaucracy, starting at the top, would help the habitual whingers get over themselves and save the nation hundreds of millions of dollars.

      Oh for the days of Billy T James who encouraged all of us, Maori and otherwise, to laugh at ourselves.

    • kayaker

      I share your view. IMO, it’s the same with the UN – it’s in their interests to keep the gap between ‘rich’ and ‘poor’ countries.

  • RockinBob625

    I have an uneasy feeling that a MSM churnalist called the HRC press office about this, and was told ‘Yes, we are aware of it and looking into it’, which translates as someone complained and we are looking for a copy to see what they are moaning about.

    MSM churnalist then makes a grand leap to an ‘investigation’. Further, the two Emmerson cartoons shown here against the Chinese are further proof that no punishment should be forthcoming.

  • XCIA

    To me the cartoon graphically illustrates the truth of what these poor wretched souls needlessly suffer at the hands of mongrels. If the truth upsets the wringing hands brigade, then that’s tough.

    • JustanObserver

      Truth upsets because ‘Truth Hurts’ , but taking offence is one way to soften the blow and deflect it away.
      Only sunshine will sanitize the stains on our society.
      Open the shadez, let the sun shine in I say.
      Inconvenient truth, Painful Truth, Hurtful Truth …
      It is time to change what is accepted.

  • cows4me

    So how long will it be before this joke of an office gives comfort to those supporting their political views? Don’t like what you are saying, fine, we won’t do anything but if others take up the cause and act then more power to them. Just look at what happened to Wicked Campers and the problems they had with vigilantes after certain MP’s decided they should be censored . This race relations office is about as useful as tits on bull, it’s nothing but expensive PC nonsense and should be turned into a WINZ franchise.

  • JEL51

    Susan and the – how – many -`crats that sit around wringing hands in that office would be far better going to areas of concern, set-up squash courts and teach the kids how to play. She could do that for half the pay and would actually feel as though she was making a difference.
    I am assuming that there will be no apology coming, other than, we here are sorry we have even needed to speak-out.
    Again, new readers, go back to last weeks pages on this blog where the cartoon was first publish and read every word both, the editors & comments.
    We have to stop what is happening. We do, not the social workers, not CYCFs, not John Key.
    Us, you and me!!!

  • Wheninrome

    Nursery rhymes of old told political stories, Goosie goosie gander, to name one. Cartoons try and highlight an issue quickly, very much to the point and normally able to be understood, even by those whom cannot read (there are still those among us today).
    The cartoon at issue falls very much into that category, even a moron would know what it was about, and it is doing what it is supposed to, inviting debate.

  • Mark156

    What happens if the HRC decide its’racist’?Do the police prosecute?