Kiwis are divided over whether reality television show Police Ten 7 should be cancelled following concerns the show features racist stereotypes.
Auckland councillor Efeso Collins on Sunday called on broadcaster TVNZ to scrap the show, which has run for 28 seasons, due to its portrayal of "young brown people".
"I think it's high time that a chewing gum show like Police Ten 7 was spat out of the New Zealand TV vernacular, because there's absolutely no need for it any more," he said.
On Monday, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon told Newstalk ZB he agreed that Police Ten 7 should be cancelled.
Foon said the show did "target more brown people than white people so, therefore, it is racist".
He cited a 2019 Tactical Options Research report which showed Māori are disproportionately subjected to the use of force by police. It found that while Māori males aged 17-40 make up less than 3 percent of New Zealand's population, they account for 35 percent of all such incidents.
Asked if the statistics reflected more on the actions of those being arrested, Foon replied: "The police are racist."
But in an interview with Magic Talk on Monday morning, former Police Ten 7 host Graham Bell spoke out in defence of the show.
"I regard the whole thing as a load of codswallop to be honest," he said.
"It's gone from Collins' comments to Meng Foon's - it's gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, it's just crazy. Crime and its uncomfortable truths are not going to disappear if they get rid of Police Ten 7. We need to face and accept that there is a problem instead of looking for ways to hide from it."
He said police deal with law-breakers and they don't select who those people are.
"They have to deal with whoever presents themselves as a law-breaker, whoever is in front of them. The colour and race and creed and what have you - none of that even comes into it. It's just people just trying to find reasons as to why we are not doing well enough in some of these areas - and this is one of them."
Bell admitted that police do have a say in what goes to air, and that it's generally the most "interesting" crimes and footage.
However, he said the racism allegation "really angers me, as it's nonsense".
"Racism is such an easy label to apply and it's often applied erroneously and often mischievously, and I think in this case it's applied mischievously."
He told host Peter Williams he would hate to see changes made to the programme following the backlash, because he would see it as an admission that what they are doing is wrong.
"The moment police start backing away from that because they are being accused of selecting someone because of their colour, they are not doing their job and they are failing the rest of us."
He said he hoped they don't take a "touchy-feely, kiss everybody" approach by changing the show.