Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says Marama Davidson's 'white cis men' comments weren't appropriate

The Prime Minister says Marama Davidson's assertion that it is "white cis men" who cause violence wasn't an appropriate comment, but should be viewed in the context of her just having been hit by a motorcycle.

Chris Hipkins said he doesn't expect perfection from people, "particularly not when they've just experienced a trauma like that". 

"I certainly don't think it was appropriate, but I think in the circumstances, I think some leeway should be given to someone saying something which on reflection they felt didn't convey what they were intending to convey."

Davidson has walked back the comment, which she made on Saturday following the Posie Parker protest at Albert Park in Auckland. 

A member of the far-right Counterspin media platform approached her, asking the Greens co-leader and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence for her thoughts on behaviour at the protest. 

"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.

Davidson now says she made that comment while in a state of shock after being hit by a motorcycle at the event

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."

Speaking at his post-Cabinet media standup on Monday, Hipkins said it is not a "form of words I would choose" and through his office he "made it clear to her that I think it would be beneficial if she was able to clarify what it was she was intending to say".

"My expectation as Prime Minister would be when someone has said something which has been interpreted in a way that they had not intended that they should clarify that as soon as possible."

He said he believes the point she was trying to make "was that the majority of sexual violence in New Zealand is conducted by men and that our transgender community are often the victim of that." 

"I think that's a perfectly appropriate thing to point out, there are facts to support that. Clearly, those are not the words that she chose to use though."

Davidson's initial comments led to calls for her to stand down from her ministerial post. 

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."

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."