Statement on Falun Gong exclusion

22 Nov

Falun Gong know full well that it did not meet the participation criteria because it refused to assure parade organisers that it would not ambush the fun family Christmas occasion to promote its own political agenda.

In a previous parade Falun Gong distributed images of torture clearly inappropriate and unsuitable for a family occasion.
This week trust chairman Michael Barnett received a letter from the group confirming it would not distribute its propaganda if it were allowed in the parade.

Mr Barnett said that despite the sect’s belated assurances, the parade organisers could not accommodate the group with just five days notice.

Mr Barnett met with representatives of Falun Gong and its lawyer Kerry Gore to explain the situation and reinforced the festive nature of the parade and the need to keep it free of politics.

“In our meeting and subsequent conversation with Mr Jay Montana Zelaya the group gave every indication that they understood the scale of the logistics. They acknowledged that the parade takes thousands of hours of planning and that organisers are unable to manage last minute entries into the parade.

“Falun Gong is one of several applications that did not meet the participation criteria and entry deadlines. The group is now using publicity to try and manipulate the rules.

“I thought we had made good progress in the meeting. The group acknowledged the spirit of the event and agreed to apply within the required time frame for next year’s parade.

“I left that meeting believing that that we had reached an understanding that would see the way clear for them to participate in future parades.

“It is disappointing that the conciliatory nature of the discussion has been disregarded in the interest of further point scoring through the media.

“The trust is now convinced that today’s press conference is yet another attempt by the sect to ambush a proud 74 year old Christmas tradition to promote its own political agenda.

“The trustees will not be making any further comment on this issue. Right now all our attention is focused on hosting a successful parade for all of Auckland.”

(Press Release: Auckland Children’s Christmas Parade Trust, Thursday, 22 November 2007)


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