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What's the Matter with New Zealand?

7:49 AM, Jun 15, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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First social science runs amok in New Zealand, as Harvey Mansfield explains in the current issue in his analysis of the social science classic by two N.Z. psychologists, "Why are Benevolent Sexists Happier?"

miss. new zealand

Photo Credit: Sarah Ivey, New Zealand Herald

And now—speaking of benevolent sexism—a New Zealand beauty pageant seems to have run amok, as we learn from an amusing article in the New Zealand Herald. The article features, in short order, many of the characteristic disorders of modern life—legalism ("has called in lawyers"), moralism ("'It's right and wrong, it's black and white—there's no grey area here'"), and bowing to public opinion ("It now appears that she has back-tracked in the face of strong protests on social media and from supporters of Ms Bennett").

The winner of Miss Universe New Zealand has called in lawyers after being told to give up her tiara by organisers. The Herald understands director Val Lott has delivered a letter to 22-year-old Avianca Bohm, who was crowned this month, advising her that she is ineligible to represent New Zealand.

She also held a meeting with Ms Bohm in an effort to persuade her to quietly give up her title.

This year's beauty pageant quickly turned ugly when it emerged Ms Bohm, who was born in South Africa, does not have New Zealand citizenship. ...
But the regional licensee of Miss North Harbour, Melissa Martin, welcomed the decision, which would crown runner-up and Miss North Harbour Talia Bennett.

"The young woman is just ineligible to hold the title. It's not a witch hunt," she said.

"It's right and wrong. It's black and white - there's no grey area here."

However, Ms Bohm has sought legal advice in an attempt to continue her reign and has the backing of the competition's head judge, Jack Yan.

"The impression I've been getting ... is that as long as Avianca arrives at Miss Universe with a New Zealand passport, she's fine," Mr Yan said.

Even in New Zealand…

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