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Religious Instruction in State Schools.

Should religious instruction be permitted in New Zealand State Schools?

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The vote is already over! It ended on Wednesday, 30.April 2014 (00:00).

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The New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists have at their core a commitment to human rights, and that we should all be treated equally under the law. We stand behind Susan Devoy in her support of Chinese New Zealanders. Singling out one ethnicity or nationality will only serve to alienate them. This is reprehensible from a moral perspective and is damaging to the image of New Zealand as a progressive open society.

It is important that in our desire to solve very real domestic challenges we do not attempt to lay the blame at the feet of those who are only taking advantage of the opportunities that we ourselves have provided.

There is currently no reason under the law that people from other countries cannot invest in New Zealand property. Anyone with the funds and the desire can do so. The issue here is simply the financial incentives and legal ability to purchase New Zealand land. If we as a nation feel that there need to be regulations then let us make that case. But while doing so let us not make the mistake of singling people out based on ethnicity or nationality.

Any political party which fails to honour the spirit of our Bill of Rights fails to appreciate how fundamental these rights are to New Zealanders. There are very real problems to address, but let us not throw basic human values overboard in the rush to overcome them, nor resort to xenophobic rhetoric that alienates our own citizens.

Peter Harrison

President

New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists

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