SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australian Jewish lawmaker Michael Danby called on New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to dismiss his agriculture minister over a ban on kosher slaughter.
Danby, a Parliament member from the governing Labor Party, in a statement issued Thursday blasted the minister, David Carter, who is embroiled in allegations that he banned shechitah to appease Muslim countries using lucrative trade deals with New Zealand.
Danby said if the allegations against Carter were proven, his decision was "unethical and discriminatory.”
“What kind of minister would sell out his countrymen to foreign powers because he secretly thought it would be of some commercial advantage?" Danby asked. “In Australia he would be driven out of public life. That’s what Prime Minister John Key should do with Minister Carter.”
Carter, who denies the allegations, declared the ban on shechitah on May 27. Jewish leaders filed a lawsuit against Carter that was due to be heard Monday in the High Court in Wellington, but on Nov. 26, lawyers for Carter agreed to allow the kosher slaughter of poultry, averting a potentially embarrassing legal showdown between the Jewish community and the Kiwi government, whose leader, Key, is the son of a Jewish refugee.
No deal has yet been struck on lamb; kosher beef will likely have to be imported from Australia.
The Jewish community argued that the ban was a breach of New Zealand’s Bill of Rights. Shechitah has been carried out in New Zealand since 1843.