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Jarod Gilbert: Devoy unsuited to Race Relations Commission role

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13.06.2018

Susan Devoy's five years as Race Relations Commissioner is coming to an end this month. To my mind, she should never have been appointed in the first place.

In her autobiography, Devoy wrote of her great desire to travel to apartheid South Africa in the 1980s to play squash because of the vast sums of money on offer.

New Zealand Squash was against the idea, the United Nations had threatened to blacklist those who went, Hart (Halt all Racist Tours) was very active in New Zealand, and anti-apartheid feeling in the country was strong and the media attention, she feared, would damage her reputation.

Furthermore, she worried her sponsors would drop her and a Sports Foundation grant be put at risk.

Devoy said it took "great strength" to resist the money, and that while she was no fan of apartheid she felt sportspeople were scapegoats of a waste of time political sporting boycotts.

In fairness during the 1980s, that view was shared by many New Zealanders, but by 1993 when her book was published, apartheid had collapsed, sporting boycotts had been lifted, and most people who were pro sporting contact had the good sense to hide it it – realising that they had fallen awkwardly on the wrong side of history.

John Key wasn't prepared to lie as and say he was anti the 1981 Springbok, so he went........

© New Zealand Herald