Posted on March 28, 2023

Greens Co-Leader Responds to Criticism for Blaming ‘White Cis Men’ for Violence

1News, March 27, 2023

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has responded after coming under fire for making comments on the weekend that “white cis men” are the main perpetrators of violence in the world.

In a statement this afternoon, Davidson said she had not been clear in her comments, was in shock due to having been hit by a motorcycle, and that violence was unacceptable in “any community”.

On Saturday, Davidson was approached by a person from far-right website Counterspin after attending the rally to oppose Posie Parker.

Capturing the exchange on video, the person asked what Davidson thought about Posie Parker being “violently assaulted” — having tomato juice tipped on her.

Davidson said she and those with her — which included fellow Green MP Jan Logie — were “here to reject the violence and hate of transphobia”.

“We are here to raise love for our trans people and community above hate and I am so proud of the mobilising of people from across so many communities to stand in strong solidarity because trans people are terrific. Trans people are a taonga… trans people are true, trans people are fantastic, and trans people are tired of being oppressed and discriminated.

“I am a prevention violence minister, and I know who causes violence in the world. It is white cis men… who cause violence.”

“Cis” is short for cisgender, which is the opposite of transgender. The term relates to a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex assigned at birth.

Cisgender does not mean heterosexual. It relates to gender identity, not sexuality.

“Trans [people] are taonga. Trans women are women,” Davidson continued.

“Te ao Māori was never so boring as binary. I am tangata whenua and I say transphobia is not welcome here.”

Davidson said “ka kite” and walked away.

Davidson made the comments shortly after being hit by a motorcycle.

The comments prompted NZ First leader Winston Peters, fresh from his state of the nation speech last week, to call for Davidson’s resignation as the minister “for the clear and outrageous statement… that ‘white straight [sic] men’ are the cause of violence”.

“Her offensive, racist, and sexist remarks are typical of a minister who has lost any right and authority to hold her portfolio.

“This is peak madness.”

Davidson is the Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence.

ACT Party leader David Seymour said Davidson needed to front up on the comments or resign.

He said Davidson could not be an effective minister if she could not get “basic facts right and instead chooses prejudice”.

“If she can’t front up with evidence for her statement about white men and, she should resign.”

He said the comments were “outrageous and extremely inappropriate for a Minister that is responsible for reducing family violence and harm”.

“Family violence and harm does not discriminate and her obvious bias against one race is deeply troubling.”

Quoting the Cabinet Manual, Seymour said no reasonable person could credibly claim that Davidson’s comments “exercised a professional approach and good judgement”.

National Party leader Christopher Luxon said Davidson had made “harmful generalisations about an entire group of people”.

“Her statements are wrong and offensive.”

He said Prime Minister Chris Hipkins needed to decide what sort of standards he accepted from ministers.

“If the thinks this is acceptable, he is setting the bar very low.”

1News has approached the Green Party to supply a factual basis for Davidson’s comments.

Davidson responded in a statement released on Monday afternoon.

She said she had been hit while on a pedestrian crossing by a motorcyclist on Saturday morning, part of a “convoy of motorcyclists”.

“A short time after the incident, I was confronted by a representative from the far-right and conspiracy theory website Counterspin who was filming me walking down the road before accosting me with inflammatory questions. A clip of that video is now circulating online and is being used to distract from a broader conversation about the causes of violence in Aotearoa.

“Still in shock, I was not as clear in my comments to the conspiracy theorists Counterspin as I should have been.”

She said violence was unacceptable in “any community”.

“As the minister responsible for Aotearoa’s first ever plan to eliminate family violence and sexual violence, I am committed to an Aotearoa where all people are safe and can live peaceful lives. My top priority is to support, protect and believe all victims and survivors of violence.

“Women are overwhelmingly more likely to be victims of family violence and sexual violence at the hands of men. It is also important to acknowledge the disproportionate impact violence has on our rainbow whānau and diverse communities.

“I should have made clear in my comments that violence happens in every community. My intention was to affirm that trans people are deserving of support and to keep the focus on the fact that men are the main perpetrators of violence.”

She said she would continue to stand with her “trans and non-binary whānau” and supported action to ensure that everyone can live their lives without fear of hate or discrimination.”

She said she would not make further comments “at this time”.