Jacinda Ardern called out for saying NZ has always been against racism, despite dawn raids, Ihumātao, Bastion Point

Commenters pointed out the social issues involving racism in New Zealand's history.
Commenters pointed out the social issues involving racism in New Zealand's history. Photo credit: Getty

Jacinda Ardern has been slammed online for claiming New Zealand has always stood against racism.

The Prime Minister spoke to Morning Report on Monday on the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the United States, protesting against police brutality and racism.

The protests were sparked by the death of African American man George Floyd, who died after a white police officer was filmed kneeling on his neck for almost nine minutes.

Many demonstrations have turned violent with local shops destroyed and looted, and police shooting non-lethal and lethal bullets which have left many people injured or dead.

Ardern was asked by host Corrin Dann whether the New Zealand Government would publicly condemn police brutality in the US.

"I've been asked several times before for my view on what's been happening...

"Anyone who saw that, read the story of what has happened in the United States will be horrified, it is horrifying," Ardern said.

"New Zealand has always been a nation that stands against racism, discrimination and that kind of violence."

But online commenters were outraged by the comments, pointing out New Zealand's own issues with racism. 

"Check your privilege, you ain't our white saviour, you're just another agent of the crown," one commenter tweeted.

"No @jacindaardern, NZ has NOT always been a place that stands against racism and discrimination. 

"Foreshore and Seabed. Te Urewera Raids. CYFS [Child, Youth and Family- Oranga Tamariki]. Bastion Point. Ihumātao. Dawn Raids. Chinese Poll Tax. Refugee ban from Africa and the Middle East. Chinese sounding last names," another said.

Each of these social issues had racial undertones which commenters claim Ardern has ignored.

"Kind of amusing that Jacinda only needs to go back to her party's last Government to know that NZ has not 'always been a place that stands against racism'," a commenter wrote.

In 2004, then Prime Minister Helen Clarke introduced the Foreshore and Seabed Act which removed the right of iwi to claim legal ownership of New Zealand beaches through the courts. 

Many groups claimed that Māori had a rightful claim to the titles and almost 20,000 marched on Parliament in protest.

In 2007, armed police stormed the tiny Bay of Plenty settlement of Rūātoki, in what became known as the Urewera raids.

Around 300 police, including armed offenders and special tactics officers, set up barricades and stormed homes claiming terrorist-style camps were being run in Tūhoe.

The dawn raids in the 1970s saw police entering the homes of Pacific Islanders they believed had overstayed their visas.

The Prime Minister's office has been contacted for comment. 

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