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NZ Politics – Divisive rhetoric and rising temperatures 

Summarised by Centrist 

You can’t make this stuff up: an academic, Prof Joanna Kidman, hired by the last Government to combat extremist rhetoric has herself been pinged for calling the new government a racist, child-hating death cult. What’s the fallout?

The rub, according to political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards, is that Kidman (an Ardern era appointee) is the director of the He Whenua Taurikura, the Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. Its funding of $2.15M per year is from the Department of Cabinet and Prime Minister (DPMC). 

Edwards says, amidst calls for her resignation, questions linger about the effectiveness of government-funded programs and the role of academics in public discourse. As a paid advisor to the government, she may be expected to maintain “some sort of professional neutrality, much like from a public servant.”

He also notes the rhetoric coming from the women’s Super Rugby team, the Hurricanes. During their season opener, the team performed a haka, chanting in te reo: “puppets of this redneck government.” 

Edwards says that while the tide may be turning on corporations endorsing these sorts of woke political stunts in their hunt for street cred, data suggests NZ is still becoming more divided. 

Read more over at Democracy Project

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