Marama Davidson blames being hit by motorcycle for lack of clarity in 'white cis men' comments

"That is white cis men who cause violence in the world."
"That is white cis men who cause violence in the world." Photo credit: Getty Images.

The Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence says her comments about "white cis men" causing violence were "not as clear" as they should have been as she was "in shock" after being hit by a motorcycle. 

Marama Davidson is facing calls to resign after claiming it is "white cis men who cause violence in the world" following the Posie Parker protest at Albert Park Auckland over the weekend.

She was confronted by a member of the far-right Counterspin media platform on Saturday who asked the Greens co-leader and minister for her thoughts on Parker being "violently assaulted" during the protest.

Thousands turned out to protest Parker, a contentious British speaker known for founding the Standing for Women group which campaigns against transgender rights. 

Parker had to be escorted away by private security and police after having red juice dumped on her by a pro-transgender activist

While the protest against Parker was mostly peaceful, video does show scuffles in the crowd and Parker being pushed and squeezed as she was walked out of the park. Among those in attendance were far-right figures.

Following it, Davidson said she and her Green Party colleagues were at the event to "reject the violence and hate of transphobia". 

"We are here to raise love for our trans people and community above hate. I am so proud of the mobilising of people from across so many communities to stand in strong solidarity because trans people are terrific, trans people are taonga," she said. 

"Trans people are tired of being oppressed and discriminated. I am a prevention violence minister [sic]. I know who causes violence in the world, it is white cis men. That is white cis men who cause violence in the world. Trans are taonga. Trans women are women."

Cis, which is short for cis-gender, refers to someone who is the same gender now as what was assigned to that person when they were born.

In a statement on Monday, Davidson blamed her lack of clarity on being hit by a motorcycle at the event

"On Saturday morning, I was hit by a motorcyclist who struck me at a pedestrian crossing. The person who hit me was part of a convoy of motorcyclists," Davidson said. 

"A short time after the incident, I was confronted by a representative from the far-right and conspiracy theory website Counterspin who was filming me walking down the road before accosting me with inflammatory questions. A clip of that video is now circulating online and is being used to distract from a broader conversation about the causes of violence in Aotearoa.

"Still in shock, I was not as clear in my comments to the conspiracy theorists Counterspin as I should have been."

Davidson said, "violence is unacceptable in any community and as the Minister responsible for Aotearoa's first-ever plan to eliminate family violence and sexual violence, I am committed to an Aotearoa where all people are safe and can live peaceful lives".

"My top priority is to support, protect and believe all victims and survivors of violence."

She said women are "overwhelmingly more likely to be victims of family violence and sexual violence at the hands of men".

"It is also important to acknowledge the disproportionate impact violence has on our rainbow whānau and diverse communities."

She said she should have been clear that "violence happens in every community". 

"My intention was to affirm that trans people are deserving of support and to keep the focus on the fact that men are the main perpetrators of violence. 

"I will continue to stand with my trans and non-binary whānau and support action to ensure that everyone can live their lives without fear of hate or discrimination."

Posie Parker.
Posie Parker. Photo credit: Posie Parker / Youtube.

Her initial comments have sparked outrage among political parties, with some calling for her to stand down.

Winston Peters, leader of New Zealand First, called Davidson's remarks "peak madness".

"Her offensive, racist, and sexist remarks are typical of a minister who has lost any right and authority to hold her portfolio... The Prime Minister must have higher standards than shown by Minister Davidson." 

ACT leader David Seymour said if Davidson "can't front up with evidence for her statement about white men... she should resign".

"Her outburst would be a firing offence in most Governments. Helen Clark sacked John Tamihere after offensive comments about particular groups came to light. Will Chris Hipkins apply the same standard?" he said.

"Davidson's comments are outrageous and extremely inappropriate for a Minister that is responsible for reducing family violence and harm."

Seymour pointed to the Cabinet Manual which says ministers must "behave in a way that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards". 

"This includes exercising a professional approach and good judgement in their interactions with the public and officials, and in all their communications, personal and professional."

National leader Christopher Luxon said Davidson "is making harmful generalisations about an entire group of people".

"Her statements are wrong and offensive. Chris Hipkins needs to decide what sort of standards he accepts from his ministers. If he thinks this is acceptable, he is setting the bar very low."

The Ministry of Justice's latest data release about violence offences shows in 2022, 7743 individuals described as Māori were charged with violent offences. This compares to 5033 European, 1795 Pacific Peoples, and 576 Asian. 

Violent offences include everything from murder to acts intended to cause injury to sexual offences.

Specifically with regard to sexual offences, the ministry data shows 722 people charged were European, while 450 were Māori, 168 were Pacific peoples, 123 were Asian.

On family violence, 6033 people charged were Māori, 4080 were European, 1340 were Pacific Peoples, 463 were Asian.

However, these data sets only capture reported alleged offences. Men received by far the most charges across the data sets. 

The Green Party has also previously said the criminal justice system is "racist" and Māori have been unfairly targeted.