Key’s comments come after the outcry about racist cartoons published in NZ’s the Marlborough Express last week, there have been calls for racism laws to be redefined.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said Al Nisbet’s cartoons, which portrayed Maori and Polynesian people spending their money on cigarettes and gambling rather than buying food for their children, did not meet the legal definition of racism. She questioned whether the threshold for racism was too high, reports

But Key responded by saying it was impossible to change the laws ‘because racism, like pornography, is subjective’.

“Pornography is really in the eyes of what the individual thinks,” he said. “There are some extreme examples I think most of us could agree on but then there would be a wide range of views in the community.

“It would be the same thing with racism – something that I might find racist you might not and so I think its one of those things that’s highly subjective.”

Mana’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti by-election candidate Te Hamua Nikora said racism was not subjective when you were the target. He said. 

“What the issue of racism requires now is leadership from the top.”

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