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Meng Foon

Chinese New Zealander

Racism is an entrenched and normalised part of everyday life in Aotearoa New Zealand. The New Zealand Government has responsibilities both domestically and under the international human rights framework to eliminate racism and discrimination. The government committed to creating a National Action Plan Against Racism (NAPAR) which will be developed by the Ministry of Justice on their behalf.

The NZ Human Rights Commission was tasked with engaging with tangata whenua, civil society and communities on what should be included in the development of NAPAR and NAPAR itself. We undertook a Te Tiriti-based approach to this kaupapa and was guided by a Taskforce of experts in this space. Throughout our engagements I consistently heard three key themes:

1. Constitutional change
2. An Action plan for all
3. Justice and reconciliation process

I believe that the NAPAR is an investment in our communities and organisations. It will help foster harmonious communities and maintain positive race relations. I know that by eliminating racism, Aotearoa will be a better place for all people.

Two perspectives on the essentials of a national anti-racism plan

"Kevin Dunn:
Online racism can intimidate, injure, degrade belonging and undermine social cohesion. National anti-racism plans and action need to operate in this online space. Action plans are poorly developed for online anti-racism, and research in this area is under-developed. Our paper reviews online anti-racism interventions in Australia using analysis of case studies and novel empirical research to illuminate the ingredients for effective, safe and efficient online anti-racism interventions.

There are virtuous effects from online anti-racism for targets and anti-racist activists, and we provide detail on the diversity of mechanisms for reporting online racism, resources, narratives and strategies for safely and effectively responding to online racism, and we review how best to support people who are affected by online racism. More than eight in ten Australians are active on social media, and youth are the most prolific internet users. Changing norms and expectations of cross cultural relations online will have a substantial and lasting benefit for culturally diverse societies.

Meng Foon:
I will talk about the New Zealand National Action Plan Against Racism, which is led by the Ministry of Justice. The Human Rights Commission has the task of asking iwi and civil society to contribute to the National Action Plan Against Racism. From the feedback it looks like the National Action Plan Against Racism will be in 3 parts:
1 . Constitution change to better align with Te Tiriti o Waitangi
2. Action plan that all firms – public, private and NGO’s can take on board
3. Justice and reconciliation

I believe that that National Action Plan Against Racism is an investment in our communities and organisations. We know the saying that “Culture eats Strategy for breakfast.” I know that by eliminating racism it will help Aotearoa to do better, by creating harmonious communities, more innovation and ideas and more profit if that is the only thing you’re looking for. I’m hoping the Government will adopt the National Action Plan Against Racism in 2022. The government needs to ensure that the implementation is financially sustainable including monitoring and evaluation."

Meng Foon
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