Survey’s questions about Maori New Zealanders biased

Survey’s questions about Maori New Zealanders biased

March 11, 2016

The Human Rights Commission says Kiwis should think before they link to an online survey launched by the state broadcaster that poses leading and biased questions about Maori New Zealanders.

The “Kiwimeter” has been touted by TVNZ as the biggest survey of national identity ever undertaken with thousands of New Zealanders taking part.  

Created by the team behind 2014’s Vote Compass, in one question Kiwimeter states “Maori should not receive any special treatment” and asks respondents for their opinions on this.

“This is a leading statement demonstrating a clear bias: Kiwimeter has decided Maori already receive ‘special treatment’ even though they do not explain what this actually means,” said Karen Johansen, Indigenous Rights Commissioner.  

“The Treaty of Waitangi settlements process is a judicial form of truth and reconciliation that acknowledges human rights abuses faced by generations of New Zealanders: to describe it as ‘special treatment’ is disingenuous and wrong.”

In its survey Vote Compass asked respondents: “How much control should Maori have over their own affairs?”

“This effectively asked us whether Maori New Zealanders deserve fewer human rights than other New Zealanders: we are incredulous that a state broadcaster in 2016 would even pose this kind of question,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy.

“If the question was ‘How much control should Pakeha have over their own affairs?’ it is unlikely this question would have made it onto our television screens.”

The Commission supports open discussion about national identity but urged the state broadcaster’s team behind Kiwimeter and Compass – whose members include journalists and political scientists in New Zealand and Canada – to think carefully about where their leading questions are taking respondents.

Human Rights Commission

The Commission works for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected.

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