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Devoy condemns hatred and intolerance

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/01/2017
Dame Susan Devoy has praised a taxi driver who made a complaint about an off-duty police officer. © Sandra Mu/Getty Images Dame Susan Devoy has praised a taxi driver who made a complaint about an off-duty police officer.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is calling on all New Zealanders to stand alongside Muslim New Zealanders in the wake of the United States ban on immigration from some Middle Eastern nations.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order this week putting a 90-day ban on citizens of seven majority Muslim nations - Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen - from entering the US, deeming them "countries of concern".

Dame Susan says people may feel helpless about the situation in the US "but the one thing we can do is let our own decision makers know that we will not allow hatred and intolerance to spread and become normalised here at home: Not in our New Zealand".

"Tearful Kiwi Holocaust survivors told me last week they never thought they'd witness a return to the politics of hatred, division and racism in their lifetime: but it's happening. They urged us all to stand up for the rights of refugees, Muslims and minorities targeted by the powerful," Dame Susan says.

Hate starts small but so too does hope, she says.

"We need zero tolerance for hatred not just in our politics but in our everyday lives, we cannot afford to be bystanders and ignore injustice."

"Last year a racist Neo Nazi said he felt intimidated by something I wrote and my response to him is: Good. We do not want you to feel comfortable, we do not want you to feel welcome wearing your Neo Nazi uniform in our public places."

Air New Zealand says travellers who are unsure of the impact the changes may have on them should contact the US Consulate for clarity.

"Any customer currently booked to travel with Air New Zealand who finds that their travel is impacted should contact us directly on 0800 737 000 to discuss options with regard to their booking," a spokeswoman for the airline said.

Dame Susan says New Zealand politicians must "keep it clean" in the general election this year.

Green Party immigration spokeswoman Denise Roche says the National government must immediately increase New Zealand's intake of Syrian refugees given they are facing a huge humanitarian crisis, and the United States has shut its door to them.

Labour leader Andrew Little responded to Mr Trump's order by reaffirming his commitment to double New Zealand's refugee quota if his party win government in this year's election.

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