12 February, 2013
NZ embarrassed by Prosser’s comments
Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Justice, and Minister Responsible for the Human Rights Commission, Judith Collins says comments by New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser are extremely disappointing and may cause international embarrassment for New Zealand.
“New Zealand values diversity and prides itself on being an inclusive society.
“Muslims in New Zealand are also a diverse community – it is simply appalling to profile people based on their religion, skin colour, country of origin, or a perceived stereo-typed ‘look’ as Mr Prosser has done.
“Mr Prosser’s anti-Muslim rant has let New Zealand down and as a Member of Parliament he should know better.
“New Zealand First Leader, Winston Peters, needs to do much more than to hide his MP – he needs to explain why Mr Prosser’s behaviour is acceptable to New Zealand First.
“The Office of Ethnic Affairs works closely with the Muslim community in New Zealand – a community that denounces terrorism and has vowed to work with authorities to counter any terrorism threat.
“We have a strong tradition of human rights in New Zealand. Our Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on race and religious belief, and our Bill of Rights Act affirms the right to freedom of religion, including the right to hold views without interference.
“As far back as 1978, New Zealand ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which underlines the right to freedom of religion.
“I suggest Mr Peters and his caucus familiarise themselves with this legislation to avoid causing further embarrassment to New Zealand,” says Ms Collins.