No doubt racism exists in New Zealand Police - Māori law expert

7:48 pm on 2 June 2020

There is no doubt racism exists within the New Zealand police, Māori associate professor of law Khylee Quince says.

AUT senior law lecturer Khylee Quince

Photo: Supplied

Protests in New Zealand over the weekend stood in solidarity with those in the United States over the police killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of a white police officer who was kneeling on his neck.

Police minister Stuart Nash said New Zealand's police had no issues with systemic racism and the organisation was addressing unconcious bias.

Prof Quince, of Auckland University of Technology's School of Law, said the data - and the experiences of Māori, Pacific and migrant populations - showed something different.

"I think we can refute any claims of there not being racism in the New Zealand police with their own data," she said.

"Data shows that Māori are far more likely - almost nine times more likely - to have a dog set upon them, or to have an armed response in relation to policing."

She said there was a strong presence of Māori, Pasifika and migrant populations at marches across the country because they resonated with poor treatment by police.

"Their [African-Americans] experience of racism and systemic injustice, those are experiences that resonate with us - they came from a different place, and different histories, so I wouldn't overplay that too much - but racism is racism, systemic injustice is systemic injustice.

"As human beings we can connect to that experience and voice our displeasure with it and stand in solidarity with any people that are subject to similar injustices."

She said police and leaders were well aware that Māori did not want police to be routinely armed.

A Waitangi Tribunal claim has been lodged by justice advocates Julia Whaipooti and Sir Kim Workman in response to the six-month trial of Armed Response Teams, which ended in April.

They argue the Crown breached Te Tiriti o Waitangi by failing to work in partnership with, consult, or even inform Māori about the trial.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs