Petition calls on PM to apologise

  • 25/11/2015
Petition calls on PM to apologise

A petition carrying 13,000 signatures calling on Prime Minister John Key to apologise for his "you back the rapists" comment has been handed in to Parliament.

Mr Key shouted the words at opposition MPs during a heated about New Zealand criminals being deported from Australia.

It caused uproar, and several women MPs walked out after saying they were victims of sexual violence.

Mr Key said he was responding to opposition claims that the Government wasn't doing anything to help the deportees, and explained he meant Labour and the Greens cared more about criminals than the people who needed protection from them.

It wasn't taken that way, and several women MPs walked out after identifying themselves as victims of sexual violence.

Mr Key didn't apologise and Speaker David Carter subsequently said he couldn't order an apology because he hadn't heard the remark at the time.

The people's power organisation ActionStation organised the petition.

It calls on Mr Key to "stand up and apologise for the offence your comment has caused to survivors of sexual violence throughout New Zealand, and withdraw the statement".

It was handed to Green Party MP Jan Logie and Labour MP Poto Williams on the steps of Parliament today.

They were among those who walked out in protest when Mr Key made the comment.

The petition also calls on the Government to fully fund specialist sexual violence agencies to provide core services for victims.

"Today is the international day for the elimination of violence against women - it is the perfect day for us to present this petition," said ActionStation spokeswoman Marianne Elliott.

Ms Logie said there was an epidemic of violence against women and the silence around it had to be broken.

NZN