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Cartoon controversy: Maori MPs demand action

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Latest Political News | Friday May 31 2013 9:06

Cartoon controversy: Maori MPs demand action

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Demands from Maori MPs that action is taken over a cartoon deemed racist, out of line and offensive.

The cartoon featuring overweight Polynesians featured in the Marlborough Express yesterday and quickly created outrage.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy labelled the cartoon insensitive and offensive, but didn't deem it to be racist.

National MP Tau Henare says Maori have had enough of being treated this way, while Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell is demanding the editors apologise.

Mr Flavell is in no doubt it's racist - and believes the definition of racism needs to be changed if it doesn't meet the required criteria.

Massey University Professor Paul Spoonley says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy should've ruled it falls under the Race Relations Act and is therefore an offence.

"The next issue is of course if she receives complaints and either she or the Press Council, I would have thought, are likely to receive complaints. So she's going to have to investigate it."

Paul Spoonley is surprised Susan Devoy was offended by the cartoon but doesn't class it as racist.

Other cartoonists are among those slamming the artist for the controversial piece in the Marlborough Express.

Tom Scott says he doesn't like it for a number of reasons.

"It's not funny and it's not particularly well drawn and it certainly isn't very clever. The editor says it's stereotypes, he's just using stereotypes to make a point. What is the point? The point is he's reinforcing a stereotype which ought to be challenged."

Mr Scott says he'd be worried if he'd drawn the cartoon.

Photo: NZ Herald

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