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Caritas And Auckland Catholic Justice & Peace Commission Withdraw From Post-budget Rally

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Two Catholic organisations who had been planning participation in tomorrow's post-Budget rally in Auckland have withdrawn their support following a New Zealand Herald story about the civil disobedience intentions of some participants.

Auckland Catholic Justice and Peace Commission chair Peter Garrick says members of religious groups participated in the newly formed Coalition for Social Justice in good faith. "We supported the planning of a peaceful march, speaking out for the most vulnerable members of society. We wished to participate in a post-Budget call for more attention to be paid to the poor, coming from our call as Christians to feed the hungry and house the homeless."

The New Zealand Herald story reveals that some participants may have a different agenda. "We want to set the record straight - civil disobedience was not discussed in the planning of the march, and no one was authorised to make such comments on behalf of the group."

Lisa Beech of Catholic social justice agency Caritas had accepted an invitation to speak at the rally, but will now not be attending.

"The New Zealand Herald article is misleading, presenting views of some individuals as if they were representative of the wider Coalition," she said. "However, Caritas and the Auckland Catholic Justice and Peace Commission absolutely do not support, and do not want to be seen to endorse, any suggestions of flour-bombing Rugby World Cup games."

Lisa Beech said the primary concern of Catholic groups is the mission to speak out for the human dignity of all, and to work for the common good.

"We are deeply concerned that the Budget entrenches the gap between rich and poor widened by last year's tax cuts, and contains further spending cuts which will have an impact on vulnerable communities. We will continue to speak out about this, and will work in coalition with any groups who share this kaupapa and are prepared to express it strongly but peacefully."

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is a member of Caritas Internationalis, a confederation of 165 Catholic aid, development and social justice agencies active in over 200 countries and territories.

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