Jan Logie
Richard Prosser’s attitude harmful to creating an inclusive society

The beliefs of New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser are anathema to a truly inclusive society. Despite his apology, he has a history of comments that strongly suggest that his widely-panned column represents his real view, regardless of any retraction he needed to make due to the uproar.

The role of a Member of Parliament is to represent diverse communities, but Prosser has shown he is incapable of this. His bizarre reaction to having his pen-knife confiscated (in accordance with air safety regulations!) has not only caused embarrassment for his Party and New Zealand as a whole, but it has done very real damage to the 36,000+ Muslims in this country.

Saziah, a Bengali Muslim (and New Zealand citizen), has eloquently discussed this harm in her blog post, Sticks and stones and weed and bombs, Mr Prosser. She says:

This hurts particularly because, on an official level, it goes to the heart of the question of my identity.

I am a Bengali New Zealander. I am also a feminist, a bookworm, a foodie and a cinephile. Some days I have good taste in music and some days I have bad taste in music. I love the beach but hate getting sand everywhere. I speak several languages. I still get upset at the thought that Dumbledore dies. When I lived in Auckland, I thought of West Auckland as home. Now that I live in Wellington, I think of Auckland as home, and of Wellington as “my city,” whatever that means. I bake decent brownies (oh the irony).

Oh, yes, I am also a Muslim.

You would think that would be the only thing about me that would be relevant to this conversation. But it is not. We are a sum of all our parts. Reducing us to one characteristic, especially one that is viewed with a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding, dehumanizes us. It is destructive. It is destructive to our personhood, in your eyes. And it is destructive to my identity in my own eyes.

Meanwhile, in today’s NZ Herald, Auckland couple Jason (Naveed) Kennedy and Khayreyah Wahaab have written an open letter to Mr Prosser, inviting him to their house for dinner to discuss his views. I commend their stance, and hope Mr Prosser takes them up on their generous invitation. Perhaps, through exposure to other cultures, he may finally begin to genuinely change his bigoted views.

13 thoughts on “Richard Prosser’s attitude harmful to creating an inclusive society

  1. ‘The role of a Member of Parliament is to represent diverse communities’

    I am a capitalist who believes in private charity only and is highly skeptical of Greenism which is a dishonest front for a communist dictatorship.

    Now represent me, oh so tolerant one, Jan. Oh wait, you DON’T represent people like me? Then please be honest and amend your comments accordingly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 11 (+1)

  2. More petty bickkering of the sort I would expect from Labour. The slate of NZ First list MP’s will be out at the next election so why waste your time on them? Is this reactionary and sniping politics what the Green Party has come to?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9 (-5)

  3. It amazes me Michael, that you can claim to be a Green Party supporter when you are such a bare-faced reactionary (in the political sense).

    Pretty much every comment you make is diametrically opposed to a Green party position.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3 (+1)

  4. Now represent me, oh so tolerant one, Jan. Oh wait, you DON’T represent people like me? Then please be honest and amend your comments accordingly.

    You’re already represented by John Banks. Stop your whinging.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7 (0)

  5. It amazes me Michael, that you can claim to be a Green Party supporter when you are such a bare-faced reactionary (in the political sense).

    I sometimes wonder myself. By my observation it seems the modern day Green Party is stacked with urban, middle class NIMBY elites who are well and truly detached from the demographics their hearts bleed over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4 (0)

  6. I will give an example of a ill-considered bandwagon some of the Green Party MP’s (and by association the Green Party) have jumped on.
    http://www.greens.org.nz/press-releases/tame-iti-s-parole-means-he-can-start-move

    Most of the liberal bleeding hearts on this issue wouldn’t even know where Ruatoki is on the map, let alone visit there, let alone live there.

    I have lived there and this community has MAJOR issues. While this could be true for many parts of NZ, this is only a small rural community where the locals are highly interconnected and treat these guys like heros while hiding many skeletons. Totally different to the city!

    On the subject of these “Youth programs” or “Wananga”, they are seriously SCREWED UP and this is not the only one that has been run in that area and shut down.

    Anyone who thinks there is nothing wrong with these “bush programs” that are run down there and guys running around with firearms in that manner, and that they were just running a “outdoor pursuits course” (or whatever they called it this time) is either totally out of touch with the realities on the ground (including the political ideologies involved) or has fallen for the media spin / bad guy romance.

    Absolutely something needed to be done and good job to the Police. Only shame is their cover up the previous time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 (+3)

  7. I don’t think you should bother wondering, Michael.

    I recommend you support a party more suited to your beliefs, given you seem to spend your (presumably) valuable time here slagging off GP policy as opposed holding any form of constructive opinion.

    Cognitive dissonance isn’t healthy – you’ll just make yourself miserable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5 (-3)

  8. I recommend you support a party more suited to your beliefs, given you seem to spend your (presumably) valuable time here slagging off GP policy as opposed holding any form of constructive opinion.

    You are not the arbiter on this matter.

    I sense political ambitions on your part. Keen to stake your claim as the supreme oracle and directive of all things for the party while eliminating and subverting any contrary points of view. Sorry to inform you, but even with the Greens polling a respectable 13%, there is considerable competition for the small handful of public and support roles in the party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 (+2)

  9. Hardly ‘subverting’ your POV.
    “Boo Greens!” on every matter isn’t really a position that would be held by a GP supporter. What would be the point?

    Just pointing out the obvious that you appear to hold no views even vaguely aligning to the GP, let alone any clear headed contrary positions that could liven up the debate, such as those views frequently expressed by Arana and photonz1.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 (-1)

  10. let alone any clear headed contrary positions that could liven up the debate, such as those views frequently expressed by Arana and photonz1.

    My points are very clear, however, the traditional green position is still very marginalised in society – and even within the Green Party – is a minority. This has become moreso as the Green Party has increased in the polls. Even worse is non green/social justice issues hijacking the language, symbols and culture to pass themselves off as something they are not. We need to stay vigilant and always test ideologies and policies for integrity and consistency.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 (-1)

  11. I’m interested now. What particular ‘traditional green position’ do you hold that requires eternal vigilance, and that you see is being subverted by this fifth colum of ersatz-Greens?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 (0)

  12. @AS

    We tolerate you. That is the basic obligation. We are not required to believe the same things you do to accept that you have those beliefs.

    Don’t mistake tolerance for something else. Logically, representing a diverse community means that it is impossible to agree with everyone…

    We are not required to adopt Islam to accept that some people are Muslims.

    We are not required to become homosexuals to accept that some people are homosexual.

    We are not required to embrace Capitalism as the best way to do everything to accept that it is a good way to accomplish the allocation of scarce resources within a community.

    We are loosely united by our beliefs about how society should best govern itself and what some of our priorities need to be. You do not agree. I have not called you a name…. yet. You however, have misrepresented us, me, in an insulting way. You are in fact wrong… no less wrong than Prosser managed to be, for much the same reason, and there is only a very little distance between you and he.

    The question of how a tolerant community deals with intolerant members of that community remains one of the conundrums of an open society.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 (+4)

  13. I am a capitalist who believes in private charity only and is highly skeptical of Greenism which is a dishonest front for a communist dictatorship.

    Comrades, we’ve been found out! lol

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 (+3)

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