“The Prime Minister has shown a lack of leadership over Kelvin Davis’s apology, she hasn’t renounced what he said, or so much as told him off for his attack on ACT MP Karen Chhour,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Davis took a day to apologise and the Prime Minister did not demand that he do so, Labour waited for the public backlash before acting because it did not believe Davis had done anything wrong. The idea that your identity can be a qualification is central to Labour Policy.

“Behind Kelvin Davis’s statements that Karen is ‘living in a pakeha world’ and she’s ‘no good looking at the world through a vanilla lens,’ is a belief that your identity can disqualify you from doing your job.

“When Davis made his statement, Karen was questioning him about Oranga Tamariki. His Government introduced Section 7AA to that bill, a section that has led to children being removed from safe, nurturing foster homes in favour of homes with Māori ancestry.

“This assumption of Māori knowledge is littered throughout Labour policy. The Plant Variety Rights Bill introduces a Māori Plant Varieties Committee. It can block plant varieties being registered and the bill says ‘A person must not be appointed as a member of the committee unless, in the opinion of the Commissioner, the person is qualified for appointment, having regard to that person’s knowledge of mātauranga Māori…’

“The new Resource management laws have five objectives, one of which is to ‘provide greater recognition of te ao Māori including mātauranga Māori.’ Getting a resource consent will depend more and more on whether someone deemed to have a Māori world view agrees with it.

“In the case of water management, ‘Te Mana o te Wai draws on a te ao Māori perspective to recognise the whole-of-system approach to wai, from maunga to moana.’ In other words, there is a special Māori way of thinking about water management, and presumably the Karen Chhour’s of the world don’t have it.

“So it goes on. People offended by Davis’s comments that Karen’s identity disqualifies her from her job should ask themselves, how many people will find themselves in that position under Labour’s policies?

“ACT has a different view, and it’s why we have members like Karen. We believe in universal human rights. We believe that humanity is united by similarities far more important that superficial differences. We believe in a modern, multi-ethnic liberal democracy with a place for all.

“Sadly Labour do not believe that, Jacinda Ardern taking a Laissez-faire approach to this shows what her and Labour’s true beliefs are.”

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David Seymour