A cartoon published by the NZ Herald has been criticised for comparing the regeneration of native forest to the Holocaust – just days after the Otago Daily Times was berated for its “insensitive” comic making light of Samoa’s measles crisis.

The NZ Herald’s comic, drawn by veteran cartoonist Peter Bromhead, depicts a Nazi officer with a chainsaw surrounded by tree stumps. It reads: “I vos just obeying orders”, the chainsaw marked with “officialdom” and a signpost reading “Mt Albert”.

The cartoon accompanied an online column from Wednesday, “an unfortunate scalping of the maunga”, written by Brian Rudman. The comic has since been deleted, although it continues to be circulated on social media.

Read the full article here on Newshub.

Media Release in response from the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand

Cartoon caused offence.

New Zealand’s leading organisation for Holocaust education and remembrance expresses their concern and disappointment regarding the cartoon published in yesterday’s New Zealand Herald comparing the proposed removal of approximately 350 trees from Owairaka/Mt Albert to the extermination of 6 million Jews and millions of Sinti, Roma, disabled and other groups deemed less desirable by the Nazi regime.

While the Herald has since removed the cartoon from its website, the fact this was ever published is inexcusable.

This comes in a week where several other cartoons have been published in New Zealand news media in similar distaste. This includes the cartoon in the Otago Daily Times mocking the devastating measles epidemic in Samoa, and that by Sharon Murdoch in the Dominion Post depicting an image of David Seymour being kissed by Hitler and a member of the KKK.

This is unacceptable. Words and images matter. Genocides such as the Holocaust do not begin with actions, they begin with words and, importantly, visual propaganda such as cartoons.

The fact that such cartoons are still being published in 2019 is concerning, particularly in the lead-up to the United Nations International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations on 27 January 2020, memorialising the short 75 years since liberation.

We need to hold journalism to higher standards in New Zealand. We need to hold ourselves, each and every one of us, to higher standards.

It is up to every Kiwi to be an Upstander and to say that we will not tolerate this in Aotearoa.