National has created the menacing-sounding role of “political correctness eradicator” to counter the Government’s “PC” culture that it says is eroding New Zealanders’ rights and freedoms.
The role is the creation of party leader Don Brash, who has given Wayne Mapp, ranked number 14 in the National line-up announced yesterday, the eradication job.
Dr Mapp, who holds a PhD in international law, gave a speech in June about getting rid of the politically correct culture. This impressed Dr Brash so much he decided to create the role.
In that speech Dr Mapp said political correctness ran counter to the “basic freedoms of society”.
“A person, an institution or a government is politically correct when they cease to represent the interests of the majority and become focused on the cares and concerns of minority sector groups.”
Acting Prime Minister Michael Cullen was quick yesterday to criticise the new role, saying it was “chillingly fascist-sounding”.
“I think the sort of nonsense we will see from Dr Mapp on that should cause enormous amusement around the country,” Dr Cullen said.
Although Dr Brash was behind the creation of the role, yesterday he appeared foggy on the details of what Dr Mapp would do and what political correctness was, instead repeatedly referring media representatives to Dr Mapp’s speech for clarification.
Dr Mapp told the Herald the political correctness he was most concerned about was where it had been built into government by way of legislation or advocacy.
Examples he gave were the Waitangi Tribunal, Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. He said the attempt to censor a conservative Christian video which condemned homosexuality was an example of excessive political correctness.
“There are New Zealanders who want to be able to express their views on homosexuality, not just privately, but through the public media,” said Dr Mapp.
“The attempt to ban the video was an attempt to prevent people expressing their views, on the basis that it was hate speech.”
He said he would start his new role by reviewing legislation and agencies and would find and publicise occurrences of political correctness.
“We are taking this seriously. We are going to do something about it, not just talk about it.”
Dr Cullen was not so optimistic about Dr Mapp’s potential to bring about change.
“I think Wayne Mapp would have significant difficulty doing anything. I always thought [that] with Wayne, actually managing to walk into the chamber, one foot in front of the other, was a major achievement in life.”
Dr Mapp’s definition
* Political correctness: a set of attitudes and beliefs that are divorced from mainstream values.
* A politically correct person: has a prescriptive view on how people should think and what they are permitted to discuss.