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Tolerance needed during time of stress


21 September 2001 Media Statement

Tolerance needed during time of stress

Ethnic Affairs Minister George Hawkins says he is disturbed by possible acts of 'retaliation' against some Ethnic New Zealanders following the terrorist attacks in the United States last week.

"I am shocked by the ignorance and racism that has been shown by a small number of people.

"Ethnic New Zealanders contribute to New Zealand's economic and social well-being. They own businesses, they employ people, and they contribute to community groups and organisations.

"New Zealand is a nation of diverse people, and that is one of our strengths. Many cultures mix in our schools, workplaces and communities and we all benefit from that diversity.

"Our children grow up in classrooms with the opportunity to learn about cultures they may otherwise never experience.

"Ethnic people come here with the dream of becoming "Kiwis". They want to become part of New Zealand, but they also share their own cultures with us," said Mr Hawkins.

Mr Hawkins said he was disappointed that some politicians had chosen to fuel racist attitudes, with unfounded claims about terrorist links in New Zealand.

"What is needed at this time is understanding and support, not hatred based on incorrect stereotypes," said Mr Hawkins.

George Hawkins advises any individual or group that is a victim of threatening behaviour to report that behaviour to the Police.

ENDS

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