Davidson wants Farmers store to take 'stronger' stand on profiling

Source: 1News

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson is criticising department store chain Farmers for failing to immediately make a statement against potential discrimination and profiling.

Greens co-leader Marama Davidson.

It comes after the NZ Herald reported 15-year-old Aiomai Nuku-Tarawhiti was subjected to what she felt was “racial profiling” and was reportedly called “undesirable” at Farmers at the Crossing in Tauranga earlier this month.

On Friday, Farmers posted a statement on social media. It read: "Farmers is currently addressing the incident that took place at our Tauriko store last weekend.

“We take this matter very seriously and are working directly with the family and Human Rights Commission. We would ask that you allow the parties to deal with this matter in a calm and respectful way."

Davidson commented on the post, and wrote the statement was a “holding message” that minimised people’s “understandable rage at the violence of racism”.

She said Farmers should have immediately come out with a “very strong message against all discrimination and profiling practices in your store and that you stand very strongly for values that people of our beautiful country expect”.

“Regardless of any investigation outcomes — that stance should already have been your immediate stance and would not have pre-empted any fair investigation process.”

1News has contacted Farmers for comment on Davidson's comments.

Farmers told the Rotorua Daily Post last week that the matter had been brought to its attention.

“We are currently undertaking an investigation as to exactly what occurred. We have already contacted the family on this.”

Davidson said she rang Farmers the day she found about about Nuku-Tarawhiti’s situation.

She said she spoke to the manager to encourage a full and thorough investigation.

The situation wasn’t also just about Farmers, but about what was happening in Aotearoa on a wider scale, Davidson wrote on Facebook.

“Jeepers my fast-growing teenage girl needs clothes that fit her. But is a fair-skinned blue-eyed girl who may never be subjected to the profiling that Aiomai got.

“But she has been with me when I've been profiled in stores, even as a Crown Minister I am still a potential thief the minute I walk into a shop with a hoodie on (true story).”