01 January 2006
Neville Robertson - Knee jerk reaction is to argue against concerns of men.
At the end of November 2005, the policy of Qantas and Air New Zealand to ban unaccompanied children from sitting next to men was publicised. The ban drew widespread and immediate condemnation from a wide cross section of the community. The main exceptions to this condemnation were the Commissioner for Children (Cindy Kiro) and on 1 December, Neville Robertson added his voice supporting the ban.
The following is Robertson's justification (as reported in the Bay of Plenty Times, 1 December 2005, "Bay fathers afraid to play dad"
Dr Neville Robertson, a community psychologist at the University of Waikato thinks that there are no grounds for discrimination claims over the policy.
"It has been clumsily handled. But this is being portrayed as an infringement of men's rights and I would have to ask that if I'm allocated seat 1F instead of 4E - how has that infringed my rights?
"Discrimination means that you deny someone a right and the right in this case is a comfortable seat on the plane - and that's what they [men] will get. I think reaction to this is disproportionate. People take it personally - it's not a personal attack at all."