After years of advocacy by STIR and others the goverment is finally writing a national action plan to end racism. To make sure anti-racism practitioners were heard we called a national hui in March with Tangata Whenua, Tangata Tiriti (Pakeha), Tangata Tiriti (Tauiwi of colour) caucuspes. We produced a briefing paper outlining some of what should be in the plan. Thanks to all those that attended, organised, supported and held the pen. May the plan be something we are proud of. Fingers crossed.
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We speak to you as a collective of experienced anti-racist practitioners. In March 2021 we gathered to kōrero about anti-racism, to feed into the proposed national action plan. The Christchurch mosque shootings in March 2019 reminded everyone that racism is well-established in our people, our institutions, and in a national culture that was built on colonial injustice. As we discuss below, Tangata Whenua continue to experience chronic and acute racism, as do other racialised communities within Aotearoa.
At the heart of our kaupapa lies a call to to fulfil the commitments made under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Likewise, it is past time that our commitments under the UN Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (1966) are similarly fulfilled.
In the briefing paper below we raise a number of issues which we believe should be included in a national action plan to address racism. Our society cannnot afford decades more of ad hoc and short-term interventions – and thus remain non-compliant with our treaties – however well-meaning these programs may be.
We encourage you to read our work closely and with care. We would like to highlight the following key recommendations:
1. We continue to call on the government to develop and implement a national anti-racism plan.
2. This initiative must be guided by the experiences of all groups targeted by racism while being led by Tangata Whenua and grounded in tikanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
3. Essential to this process will be the government’s active participation and resourcing of constitutional discussions such as those raised by the Matike Mai movement and the He Puapua advisory group.
4. Any plan must be cognisant of intersectionality to ensure that issues such as poverty and immigration status do not continue to aggravate the effects of racism.
5. All these goals will require a centralised source of evidence and expertise and this should include the creation of a national clearing-house of anti-racist research and other measures such as specific job protections for racism whistle-blowers.
6. Such knowledge must inform a range of new evidence-based policies and national campaigns such as new OSH regulations and the roll-out of a national bystander training program.
7. We call on the government to establish far higher standards for Crown agency compliance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to enforce new models of accountability for racist behaviour on the professional and institutional levels.
We offer you our following collective reflections and recommendations.