An unsolicited email from Paul Hunt

Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt

When I signed up to the website Neighbourly, I had no idea that it would lead to the Human Rights Commission gaining access to my personal e-mail address so that keffiyeh wearing Paul Hunt, the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, could contact me directly at my personal e-mail address.

What’s next? A personal e-mail to me from The Privacy Commissioner who obtained my private e-mail from Neighbourly? Do I have a human right to not be sent unsolicited e-mails from the man who runs a commission that I despise and would like to see shut down?

This is what he had to say to me…

 Have you seen this happening in Arkles Bay? 

Human Rights Commission

Kia ora Juana

Racism lives in everyday actions and comments that we laugh off, excuse, and therefore accept. Racism starts small and takes many forms. 

But accepting it is a choice. We can stop casual racism from growing into something more extreme. We can give it no encouragement. No respect. No place. No power. We can give it nothing.

If you witness casual racism, giving nothing to it means refusing to stoop to its level and give it any positive reaction to feed off and grow. A blank face can speak volumes to someone who seeks a response, as can the non-confrontational words ?I?m giving that nothing?.

If you are on the receiving end of racism choose to give nothing, to not laugh it off or let the person off the hook. Know that there are many of us who are with you. Feel supported in giving nothing. And if you want to call it out directly, we?re all behind you too.

If you want to acknowledge casual racism online and call attention to it, you can actively give it nothing by using a blank faced emoji (?) to respond to casually racist messages, comments or content. This is a show of resistance that doesn?t invite more discriminatory discussion. You can also report harmful digital content to Netsafe or to the platform.

Racism and discrimination have no place in New Zealand and it?s up to all of us to call attention to it. If you see discrimination of any kind happening on Neighbourly, please report it for the Neighbourly team to review immediately. 

If you witness extreme racism like a racist attack; record it, support the victim and engage them in a conversation by asking them if they?re ok. Supporting the victim will send a strong message to the attacker, without inflaming the situation by reacting to them directly. Finally make sure to report the incident to the authorities. 

If you are on the receiving end of extreme racism and feel unsafe, call Police on 111. New Zealand Police encourages all members of our communities to be alert to, and to report, instances of hate speech to them. If you can, record it. Report it to us at the Human Rights Commission. Seek support.

More information is available here: www.givenothing.co.nz.

If you would like to make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission please contact our info line at 0800 496 877 or [email protected]

Ng? mihi,

Paul Hunt
Chief Human Rights Commissioner
New Zealand Human Rights Commission

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Below is my open letter response:

Hello Paul

The Nanny state lives in government actions and statements that we cannot laugh off, excuse, and therefore accept. The Nanny State starts small and takes many forms.

But accepting it is a choice. We can stop the Nanny State from growing into something more extreme. We can give it no encouragement. No respect. No place. No power. We can give it nothing by voting them out of power at the next election.

When I experience Nanny statism like this unsolicited e-mail lecturing me on how to behave and encouraging me to dob in my neighbour and other people on line, I refuse to stoop to its level. ?I?m giving you nothing?. I will not be making myself judge and jury and dobbing people in for “hate speech” which is a term so vague that any criticism or statement of fact could fall under it.

Know that there are many of us who are against Nanny Statism. Know that there are many of us who support freedom of speech because it is the cornerstone of our democracy. We will not tolerate our free speech being taken away.

Hate Speech laws and Nanny Statism have no place in New Zealand and it?s up to all of us to call attention to it when it happens.


Kind regards

SB

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