Race Relations Commissioner says bar's coronavirus-themed promotion not racist, but deplorable

Kristin Hall
Source: 1News

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon says a coronavirus-themed promotion being run by a Hamilton bar isn't racist but it is insensitive and deplorable.

A Facebook post by House on Hood bar shows two people in hazmat suits and masks raising a Corona, and says it will be selling Corona beers for $6.50 "while the pandemic lasts".

The post was taken down after pressure from Lion New Zealand.

Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon stopped short of calling the ad racist, but said that taking advantage of a situation where people are dying is "just not right".

Mr Foon also questioned why coronavirus in particular was being used as a promotional tool.

"No one put up a post about the Whakaari/White Island deaths, no one's taken any economic benefit from the bush fires - so why are they choosing this particular event to take economic advantage of?" Mr Foon said.

Rotorua Lakes Councillor Fisher Wang, who is New Zealand-born Chinese, said he'd received messages from members of the community that suggested Chinese people should "go home".

"I understand there's fear out there, but people shouldn't be pointing fingers at certain groups," he said.

On the subject of Chinese New Zealanders being targeted with racist remarks, Mr Foon said there appeared to be a trend of blaming people of certain nationalities when crises happen.

"We need to stop this rhetoric and be kinder as people are dying.

"We need to be aware that there's information from Ministry of Health, and just show compassion towards humanity."