National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has today lodged a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) seeking to change the law around the use of kirpans so that baptized Sikh are able to carry kirpans in public and work places.
“The Crimes Amendment Bill contains many changes to outdated parts of the Crimes Act signalled by the previous Government, but a glaring omission for the Sikh community is the change to allow Sikhs to wear a kirpan in public,” Mr Bakshi says.
“A kirpan is one of the five articles of the Sikh faith and holds tremendous significance. It is not used as an offensive weapon, but solely as an important symbol of faith, which is why it should be allowed to be carried by Sikhs.
“I have long advocated for the Sikh community and National announced prior to the election that we would change the law for carrying kirpans. When I raised this amendment with Labour and the Greens, both indicated they would support it.
“It’s disappointing the Government has not chosen to include it in the Crimes Amendment Bill from the outset, but I am hopeful it will accept my SOP.
“New Zealand is a vibrant, multicultural country that values diversity. That’s why it is important that we stop criminalising Sikhs for carrying kirpans,” Mr Bakshi says.
The SOP does not change the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) rules governing what may be carried on board a domestic flight. Decisions around prohibited items remain questions for the CAA.