Police Minister Stuart Nash backs call not to prosecute Palmerston North Nazi

Police Minister Stuart Nash has defended the force's decision not to prosecute a man wearing Nazi-themed clothing outside a mosque in Palmerston North.

The man, wearing a red singlet with a black swastika on the front, stood outside the Manuwatu Islamic Centre just three days after a white supremacist gunman shot 50 people dead at two mosques in Christchurch.

"The man was approached by police," police told RNZ on Friday.

"He was advised to move on and told that obviously what he was wearing at the time, considering what's happened on Friday, was inappropriate and yeah, basically suggesting that he moved on - he complied and that was it."

Police initially told RNZ they had "no right" to question the man, despite his outfit, then later said his details had been entered into the police intelligence system - but he wouldn't be facing charges.

"I think wearing a swastika outside a mosque is pretty offensive," Nash told Newshub Nation on Saturday.

"What I do know is the police use their discretion, and they use it well. I trust the police to use their discretion."

Stuart Nash.
Stuart Nash. Photo credit: Newshub Nation

A Christchurch man who ran a Nazi-themed insulation business has been charged with distributing objectionable material - namely the livestream video of the killings, which has been outlawed by the Chief Censor.

"I do trust the police to use their discretion," Nash said of the swastika singlet-wearing man.

"We do allow the police to use their discretion. You know, who knows if they took this guy away and had a good talking to him, and he's never done this ever again. But again, without knowing the particular circumstances of that incident I can't comment."

He said "every single instance" of threats reported to police has been investigated, despite claims from Islamic organisations they're not taken seriously.

"I am of the absolute belief that police do take this seriously, and they do investigate when it comes to their attention."

Even retaliatory threats to members of white supremacist and nationalist groups like the National Front need to stop, says Nash.

"We don't want to see that - of that there's no doubt."


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