The New Zealand Greens have criticised their Government for not joining Australia and Canada in pressing for Commonwealth countries to repeal laws that criminalise sexual minorities at last month’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth.

Green Party spokesman Kevin Hague said Prime Minister John Key’s National Party-led Government failed on the issue.

“The Government’s deafening silence when called upon just to support another country’s initiative suggests a moral cowardice of the worst order,” Hague said.

“There is an overwhelming moral imperative to use our friendly relations with other Commonwealth countries to call them to account on this fundamental human rights issue. Yet successive New Zealand governments have effectively made a passive choice to turn a blind eye to it. That was bad enough.

“The difference here is that this looks like an active choice to do so.”

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