Updated: Jun 7, 2021
Stuff's National Correspondent Tony Wall takes a swing at Tauranga: it “seems to have been taken over by an army of white, privileged rednecks who have no tolerance at all for anyone or anything that doesn't look like them.”
He complains, “are we living in Jim Crow America, or 21st Century Aotearoa?”
It's not all bad though. “[T]hese racists are a dying breed of dinosaur” and in the meantime, “it’s for Pākehā like me to call these clowns out for the losers they are”.
His claims are serious. What's his evidence?
Item One: the reaction to Ms Kim Williams doing a mihi at a meeting of 300 odd. “People shouted at her to ‘speak English’ and ‘get off the stage’, according to reports of the meeting”.
Kim Williams herself explains, “Much of the noise was the audience objecting to the two or three abusers I was looking directly at.”
“The room supported me. Dozens from the meeting approached me after to offer love, support and apology.”
Item Two: “As if that incident wasn’t alarming enough, the next news item to bring Tauranga into disrepute involved the arrest of a 44-year-old man in relation to a video posted on YouTube that incited violence, hate speech and looming death threats towards Māori people and culture.”
And Item Three:
“Just this morning I picked up the local paper to see a story about a petition by a former Western Bay councillor to ‘return democracy’ to New Zealanders who don't identify as Māori, following recent government initiatives such as Māori Wards and the Māori Health Authority”.
As Tony Wall sees it, “The petition is basically saying give the power back to whites.”
So his “army of white, privileged rednecks” is two or three hecklers at a meeting of 300, one person arrested for threatening to kill Māori, and citizens signing a petition in favour of one person, one vote.
The evidence against Tauranga is vanishingly slim. The problem is Mr Wall who conflates citizens signing a petition with a fellow threatening to kill and sees two or three hecklers in a crowd of 300 as an army taking over the city.
That’s the state of news today: hyperbolic and overblown.
But spare a thought for Mr Wall. It can’t be easy for him working at Stuff. He distracts from his own white privilege by yelling racist at his town.
I doubt it works.
He should accept he's old, white and male. And start apologising. I am sure there's a course that could help him.
Update: The 44 year old has been charged with making an objectionable publication, not threatening to kill. I thank RedbaiterNZ for alerting me to my error in the comments. I apologise for my mistake.