Editorial: Let's trust her compass

PETER O'NEILL
Last updated 05:50 23/03/2013

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It's clear Dame Susan Devoy has some reading to do.

By her own admission, "more reading than a library".

But hey, she's got, what, a week before she takes up the position of race relations commissioner?

She'll be fine.

She'll be fine because she seems a commonsense sort of woman who calls a spade a spade in an age when political correctness has gone mad, and people are scared what others think of them.

She'll be a breath of fresh air, who will put her foot in it from time-to-time over the next five years.

But I imagine those utterances, when they come, will reflect what most New Zealanders are really thinking.

They just don't have the guts to say them out loud.

She's already copped flak over a couple of comments.

She has said Waitangi Day should be ditched as the country's national holiday. That was before she was commissioner. But now that she is, or about to be, she's not backing away.

It's "extraordinarily important" but "it isn't New Zealand Day, is it?" she said this week, to the ire of some Maori.

Hello. Most New Zealanders would agree with her. The day is not viewed as a celebration. Hasn't been for ... ever?

For some reason, she's had to answer questions about whether she is part-Maori. I didn't know that was a criterion.

Um, New Zealander would do, wouldn't it.

She finds burqas disconcerting. Actually, so do lots of people.

I like that Dame Susan isn't an academic or lawyer or past public servant.

What she is, is one of us, along with being approachable and with experience advocating on behalf of the disabled and those with mental illness.

She's got a moral compass she trusts, and that's good enough for me.

If things get really bad, apparently she's quite handy with a squash racket.

But that wouldn't be PC, would it?

Another thing: Real anglers might not rate the hauling of huge trout from our high-country hydro canals as having much skill, but no matter.

Our region is now widely known for producing the biggest trout in the country, and soon enough we could claim a world record.

That's marketing gold.

The question is, are we taking the bait?

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- The Timaru Herald

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