National leader Judith Collins wants Human Rights Commissioner sacked over Mongrel Mob donation

National leader Judith Collins wants Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt sacked over a donation made to the Mongrel Mob. 

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) donated $200 to the Mongrel Mob as koha - a customary Māori gift - when Hunt visited the Waikato gang pad in May, according to figures obtained under the Official Information Act by Newstalk ZB. 

Hunt visited the gang pad with Greens co-leader Marama Davison, who has equally came under fire from the Opposition. Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson has also met with the Mongrel Mob, as well as ACT MP Nicole McKee

Collins has described the donation as an "incredible lapse of judgement" and believes Hunt has lost credibility to continue in the role as Human Rights Commissioner. 

"That Mr Hunt and HRC staff thought it was appropriate to donate to one of New Zealand's largest gangs - who were recently involved in an international gang drug bust resulting in arrests - calls into question their judgement and raises questions as to the priorities of the Commission," Collins said on Monday.

"We will see Labour and supporters excusing this and no doubt they will attempt to tie this to race. New Zealanders are sick of that narrative being trotted out to excuse poor decision making by this Government and its agencies.

"This is not about race. This is about organised crime and to tie that to Māori and tikanga is actually insulting to the overwhelming majority of Māori who are not in gangs and are just as appalled as New Zealanders of any other race."

Collins said it sends "all the wrong messages" and says Hunt must go whether by his own resignation or the sack. 

Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt.
Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt. Photo credit: Human Rights Commission

Hunt said in a statement to Newshub that a koha was laid at the pōwhiri in line with tikanga or Māori custom. 

"I was doing my job," he said. "The provision of koha is entirely culturally appropriate. To not offer koha at that pōwhiri would have been extremely disrespectful. 

"This is normal practice at all pōwhiri, and the commission will always try to follow protocols when attending external events. It is also consistent with the commission's commitment to becoming a Tiriti o Waitangi based organisation."

The figures showed that left-wing organisation ActionStation Aotearoa also received money from the HRC, as did a number of schools and marae. 

ACT leader David Seymour is also outraged about the donation and is renewing his call for the HRC to be abolished. 

"The revelation that Paul Hunt gave money to a criminal organisation is further evidence that the Human Rights Commission must be abolished", he said on Monday. 

"It has been undermining free speech, cuddling criminals, pushing for more redistribution, and peddling countless woke issues. Time to shut it down.

National leader Judith Collins.
National leader Judith Collins. Photo credit: Newshub / Zane Small

"The commission has become a highly-politicised, left-wing organisation, and when it comes to actually helping people with human rights, it doesn't help at all. ACT sees no purpose for it and would abolish it completely."

Seymour called for the HRC's end in October last year after it published its manifesto, which included calls for changes to hate speech law, fair pay agreements, and an increase to benefit levels - all Labour policies.  

The HRC, which operates as a Crown entity independent from direction by Cabinet, declined to respond to Seymour's remarks at the time. 

Seymour says if Hunt wants to be a politician, he should try to get elected. 

Green MP Golriz Ghahraman has argued that the HRC "plays an important role" advocating for the rights of the disabled, rainbow, and other minority communities.