New Zealand Jewish Community Meets with Prime Minister Over Shechitah


new-zealand-prime-minister-john-keyAttempts to overturn the recent ban on shechitah in New Zealand were taken to the top levels of government last week. Representatives of the community met with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to air their concerns regarding new guidelines for animal slaughter and the negative implications they pose to the community.”On Friday, a small group met with the Prime Minister to express to him the views of the New Zealand Jewish community with regard to the new Code Of Animal Welfare and its effect on shechitah and the Jewry in New Zealand,” chairman of the New Zealand Jewish Council Geoff Levy told The AJN. “The Prime Minister understands our point of view. He said, ‘We want the Jewish community to be strong and vibrant in New Zealand’.”

Community representative David Zwartz told The AJN that they are now awaiting a response from the Prime Minister, whose Jewish mother fled Austria on the eve of World War II.

Zwartz added that they are also preparing for a potential legal challenge to the regulations. Asked whether they anticipate Key intervening on the community’s behalf, Zwartz said simply that they would “have to wait and see”.

Also this week, Agriculture Minister David Carter – responsible for implementing the ban on shechitah by imposing a law to ensure stun guns are used prior to animal slaughter – has apologised for comments made last week in his address to the Association of Rural Veterinary Practices.

Carter had told the group that “there are no exemptions” to the new regulations. He added: “In doing so, we may have upset a relatively small religious minority, and I do appreciate their strong feelings for this issue, but frankly I don’t think any animal should suffer in the slaughter process.”

New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman confirmed that an apology had been made for any offence caused.

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