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Entry 202, on 2005-07-29 at 16:37:23 (Rating 3, News)
I heard an interview with a Corrections (Prison) Officer this morning who has been suspended from her job for not following politically correct protocol dictated by the organisation she works for, then going on to discuss it with the media (also against department policy).
The problem started when she refused to sit near the back of the room during a Maori meeting. For those of you who don't know much about New Zealand, the Maori are the original inhabitants of this country. Maori protocol dictates that only the men are allowed to sit at the front of the room during meetings and other occasions. This is ironic considering they even apply this rule when the ceremony is for women who are starting senior positions at Corrections.
Political correctness dictates that we must accept these beliefs unquestioningly, even if they would be totally unacceptable anywhere else. Its bizarre to think that here in New Zealand, where we were first in the world to give women the vote, we still make them sit near the back of the room because of Maori protocol.
Well this person refused to sit at the back, and later discussed her action with the media. Of course, in these days of spin, only official publicity people (in other words professional liars) are allowed to discuss these issues in public.
From a legal point of view she's probably wrong, although if you accept sitting at the front as a sign of protest its not legal to punish her. Talking to the media was contrary to her employment contract, so technically she can be fired for that, and probably will be. But there are some things which are more important than the law. I don't think people should always have to follow their employment contracts, they have no real choice what these say when they are employed, and they have to sign them if they want the job. So I think employment contracts are agreed to under duress, which makes them invalid.
So, the way I see it, she's done nothing wrong and I support her in the stand she's taking. Too many people just accept native rights and traditions and assume they are valid, or are too scared to question them. Its good to see someone who does question these things. All cultures evolve, and protecting Maori culture by not modernising its beliefs isn't doing anyone a favour.
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