The Human Rights Commission still hasn’t asked for our side of the story

I am getting a little bit sick of how we at Whaleoil have been treated by the Human Rights Commision over the cartoon complaint. They didn’t even bother to inform us of the complaint until I wrote a post about it and pointed out that the media were informed and had written articles about it but that the HRC hadn’t bothered to inform us. Now despite the fact that they have stated that they are looking into it they have not contacted us for comment or to hear our side of the story. I have therefore reacted by doing a series of posts about political cartoons in an attempt to get this issue well aired in public before the HRC make their decision.

I am very concerned that they are going to come to a decision without considering our point of view. The unknown person/s who complained about BoomSlang’s cartoon have been able to provide The HRC with their analysis of the cartoon but we have not been given the same opportunity.

In a court of law there is the case for the prosecution and the case for the defence. What about our human right to defend BoomSlang’s cartoon? Do we not get a say? Is the HRC a kangaroo court?





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  • Dave

    I seriously wonder if the Human wrongs commission have even met their own internal guidelines or charter. Firstly you heard via the media quoting a HRC person, but they didn’t even bother sending an email, even a two line “we have received a complaint and will be I touch in due course”. If they have not followed their own internal guidelines or charter then I don’t see how the complaint can go any further, as if they proceed further they will have denied WO and BoomSlang the right to a reply and natural recourse. They are not judge and jury alone. So tonight when time permits I’m off to read up on their mandated guidelines and process.

    In the meantime, I remain convinced the complainant simply saw this as a cheap shot at WO over past articles on her, the Ta Moko cartoon just became her convenient complaint vehicle, and I note she hasn’t complained about the picture at Te Aro the national museum, or the one SB highlighted recently, WHY?? Bias anyone?

  • Keeping Stock

    The unknown person/s who complained about BoomSlang’s cartoon have been
    able to provide The HRC with their analysis of the cartoon but we have
    not been given the same opportunity.

    Surely you have a right to know the identity of your accuser. I’m a mere bush lawyer, but surely not telling you the identity of your complainant flies in the face of any natural justice.

    • Dave

      It is my belief the / one of the complainants are known or have identified themselves, if others have complained, I will put a hundy down on a few extras being roped in to complain to get the complaint more weight.

  • Keyser Soze

    Who cares what the HRC finds? I suspect most NZers don’t give one toss what they have to say about anything. Do they actually have any teeth? If they come out with any detrimental comment the Streisand effect will kick in and BSs cartoon and WO will get a few more eyeballs. Good stuff.

    • spanishbride

      Good point. Does anyone know if the HRC actually has the power to punish people or do they simply make a pronouncement like royalty ie ” We are not amused”?

      • venator

        In my case, the outcome was that I attend a course of training on human rights. Naturally I didn’t. No one followed up.

  • JustanObserver

    Should we lay a complaint to the HRC?
    Stating that the HRC is not giving WO an opportunity to comment on what appears to be a trial by public-forum on a topic which is very much in the public interest.
    WO represents some 250,000+ like-minded New Zealanders and effectively the HRC is not giving us the opportunity to be heard.
    . . . . . . . (silence) . . . . . . .

  • Eddie

    Your side of the story doesn’t matter because you are a pakeha male and so guilty regardless. Why not ask Dame Fatima Devoy to front up for a public discussion?

    • spanishbride

      Cam is actually Fijian born, so they shouldn’t be able to shake the white privilege stick at him.

  • jaundiced

    If the HRC have looked into it, It be very surprised if they haven’t already come to the conclusion that there is no substance to the complaint.
    What human rights have been denied, and more importantly, who’s human rights have been denied?
    There’s only one answer – the victims of child abuse.

  • JEL51

    Patience SB. HRC are still wading through the comments from yesterdays excellent post on the subject. They are very slow readers when it comes to commonsense replies, as it is all new ground for them.

  • Really?

    Maybe if they read their own website and get to the second line explaining what everyone’s Human Rights are, they may discover this one….
    “Freedom of expression”

  • iera

    As the cartoon was published online, is the Human Rights Commission bound in any way to observe the OMSA standard 3 of Fairness or Right of Reply – as recently found to be the only complaint upheld in the OMSA decision on Penny Bright 5 point complaint against WhaleOil comments on her unusual water arrangement.

    If the Human Rights Commission publishes its finding on any complaint online, is right of reply required to comply with OMSA rulings?

  • venator

    I had a run in with these guys some years back. They do take their time to follow up. If you have not heard from them, I presume they will be gathering evidence and attempting to evaluate any potential wrong doing. Once the HRC did get around to talking to me, I found them to be very polite, open and transparent about the complaint that was mad against me. I was able to clarify the facts that related to the case and they rightly ruled against the complaint. However – if there is a problem with the system, the complainant is allowed to appeal that decision.And when that happens it goes “upstairs” to a failed judge who then attempts to turn it into a legal tug of war. Normally the failed judge wins – because he has already made his decision based on the fact he doesn’t like savvy business people. Just keep knocking them back and drag them out. And if they rule against you, do nothing. They don’t seem to have anyone following up to verify.

  • localnews

    has there been a case previously in New Zealand where someone has got in trouble for publishing a cartoon?
    I cant recall one, it sounds awfully unusual