Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon admits ‘police are racist’ comment was wrong

New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon has apologised to Police for his comments that “police are racist”, saying they were “incorrect”.

Although he still maintains that there is systemic racism within New Zealand’s Police force, he is walking back the blanket statement he made earlier this week.

“I do admit that my comments regarding the Police being racist was incorrect,” he told the Herald.

“I shouldn’t’ stereotype,” he said before saying he was directing his apology towards the Police.

But he said New Zealand shouldn’t be burying its head in the sand when it comes to racism.

And of the police: “They do have systemic racism in the place – that has been admitted by the Commissioner”.

Andy Coster, who holds that position, has admitted this in the past and has said the Police are reviewing to fix the issue.

But Coster was one of many who were critical of Foon’s statement last week.

“Labelling all 14,000 police staff racist isn’t accurate, and aren’t helpful for addressing inequity where it exists,” he told Newstalk ZB.

Police Association president Chris Cahill called on Foon to retract his comments.

“This blanket assertion from Mr Foon is nothing less than a body blow to the many hard-working police officers, including Māori, Pasifika, Asian, Indian, Pakistani and those from other diverse backgrounds who make up the New Zealand Police, but have now been lumped in one ‘racist’ basket.”

Foon’s apology was made after he was challenged by National leader Judith Collins on his comments.

“I think he has just taken back race-relations another 10 years,” she told ZB this morning.

She said people are getting tired of being told how racist they are.

“The reason is because most New Zealanders are not racist – most New Zealanders are real decent people and they will give someone a fair go.”

Despite his apology, Foon was still critical of TV show Police Ten 7 – saying it was a racial stereotyping programme.

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