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NZ Parliament refuses Hindu leader's request

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New Zealand Parliament refuses to consider Hindu leader's request

New Zealand Parliament has refused to consider prominent religious leader Rajan Zed's request to amend its prayer procedure/structure for making it more inclusive and universal.

In a communiqué to Zed, New Zealand Parliament Speaker, Margaret Wilson, wrote, "Having conducted a survey of Members of Parliament to determine if there was a mood favouring change, and having discovered that 84 per cent of respondents wanted the status quo, I am not prepared to consider the issue again unless there is clear and unequivocal support for change. The Standing Orders Committee, which I chair, holds the same view".

In a message to Standing Orders Committee of New Zealand Parliament few days back, Zed said that instead of Parliament Speaker reading the same prayer every sitting day, guest chaplains from various religions and denominations should be invited to read the opening prayer, thus each day starting with a new prayer. This practice will substantiate the freedom of worship enjoyed across the nation, he added.

Rajan Zed further said in this communication that if the Parliament wants the same prayer to be read each day, then the wording of the prayer should be universal and inclusive in nature so that it reflects/represents the diverse population of New Zealand. As you know, New Zealand is now a multicultural country where religion encompasses more than one tradition, and it includes Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Spiritualists, etc., besides many with no religious affiliation, Zed added.

The challenge today is to seek unity that celebrates diversity, Zed suggested.

New Zealand Parliament starts each sitting day in Wellington with the same prayer read out by the Speaker of the House and the prayer regulation is defined/guided by the Standing Orders and Speaker's Rulings. New Zealand is a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy headed by the Queen.

Current wording of the prayer is: "Almighty God, humbly acknowledging our need for Thy guidance in all things, and laying aside all private and personal interests, we beseech Thee to grant that we may conduct the affairs of this House and of our country to the glory of Thy holy name, the maintenance of true religion and justice, the honour of the Queen, and the public welfare, peace, and tranquillity of New Zealand, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen."

New Zealand, a geographically isolated country in southwestern Pacific Ocean of the size of Colorado, is one of least crowded countries (population around 4.3 million) with beautiful landscape, which includes fjord-scarred shores, snowy peaks, and sheep dotted pastures. Food, beverages and tobacco are its largest exports.


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