KEVIN SCHULZ AGAINST NEW ZEALAND HERALD
Case Number: 3223
Council Meeting: MARCH 2022
Decision: No Grounds to Proceed
Publication: New Zealand Herald
Apology and Correction Sought
Te Reo and reporting on Te Ao Maori
CASE NO: 3223
RULING OF THE NEW ZEALAND MEDIA COUNCIL ON THE COMPLAINT OF KEVIN SCHULZ AGAINST THE NEW ZEALAND HERALD
FINDING: INSUFFICIENT GROUNDS TO PROCEED
DATE: MARCH 2022
The New Zealand Herald published a cartoon on February 6, 2022, showing Act Party leader David Seymour - depicted as a Waitangi Day BBQ blow fly saying, “We need to remove the Treaty from the nation’s laws”- being swatted away by Māori Party leader Rawiri Waititi.
Kevin Schulz said he was not offended by the cartoon, but it would have been unacceptable if it had shown David Seymour swatting away a BBQ blow fly depicted as Māori with a full moko. Even though the carton was reverse racism, it was still racism.
New Zealand Herald editor Murray Kirkness said cartoons were understood to be opinion and readers did not have the right to not be offended by any cartoon.
The Media Council recognises cartoons as opinion. They have a tradition of mocking public figures and can be harsh but that is the nature of satire. The Council has also long held the view that readers do not have the right to not be offended.
The Media Council does not accept the claim that the cartoon is racist. The cartoonist has drawn caricatures of two recognisable and widely known politicians. Their race was not denigrated in any way.
Mr Schulz asked the Council to consider a hypothetical alternative cartoon. The Council’s remit does not extend to considering hypothetical content.
There were insufficient grounds to proceed.