#SafetyNotStalking Open Letter to the Minister of Justice

Open Letter to the Minister of Justice

This open letter was published on 20 May 2024. If you wish to support this ongoing campaign, please sign our #SafetyNotStalking ActionStation petition. Kia ora! Thank you for your interest!

An Open Letter to the Minister of Justice, the Honourable Paul Goldsmith:

Dear Minister Goldsmith

We all want Aotearoa New Zealand to be a country where everyone can safely contribute to our communities and our collective well-being. We are all better off when everyone can participate in society.

Right now, many New Zealanders, mostly women, do not have the empowerment that comes from knowing they are safe to care for their children, create loving relationships, live where they choose, or even to engage in public-facing work. This is because they are targeted by stalkers: people making unwanted, repetitive, and persistent intrusions into their lives.

Stalkers attempt to control their victims through surveillance, threats, and intimidation. It can be terrifying. Just the possibility of stalking can silence women. Stalking takes a heavy toll on victims’ lives, and it can escalate to severe physical violence and murder.

Aotearoa New Zealand is currently experiencing a dramatic increase in the amount of online stalking and harassment. This dangerous, harmful behaviour is illegal in Australia, the United States, the UK, and Europe, but not in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our current laws are piecemeal and inadequate. They often make it impossible for victims/survivors to be safe.

This has to change for the peace of mind of all New Zealanders. Making stalking illegal will enable coordinated responses so that victims receive prompt and effective support and protection. It would give the police the tools they need to keep people safe.

We are pleased that before the election, the National Party publicly supported making stalking illegal. You criticised the previous government for having“dragged its feet in this area.” Yet, despite our requests for urgency, you have told us you have no plans to update the current dangerous and inadequate legislation this year, and we are concerned no anti-stalking bill will be passed within this term.

Minister Goldsmith, we call on you to honour National’s pre-election statements and immediately make stalking a crime by adding it to the Crimes Act, to prevent more innocent people from living in fear and being harmed and murdered.

Ngā mihi nui,

Signed by:

The Coalition for the Safety of Women and Children:

Auckland Women’s Centre – Te Wāhi Wāhine o Tāmaki Makaurau

Eastern Women’s Refuge

HELP Support for Sexual Abuse Survivors

Hestia Women’s Refuge

Inner City Women’s Group

Kia Haumaru – Personal Safety Education

Mt Albert Psychological Services Ltd

National Council of Women, Auckland branch

North Shore Women’s Centre

NZ Human Rights Centre

Pacific Women’s Watch, New Zealand

Rape Prevention Education – Whakatu Mauri

Respect (formerly Living Without Violence), North Shore

Rodney Women’s Centre

Shakti Community Council NZ

SHINE Safer Homes in NZ Everyday

The Backbone Collective

Women’s Health Action Trust

Women’s Refuge – Tāmaki Makaurau

YWCA, Auckland

And also:

Ace Lady Network

Aotearoa Alliance of Progressive Indians

ARCS Manawatu Abuse and Rape Crisis Support

Auckland Women’s Health Council

Auckland Women’s Lawyers Association

AVA – Anti-Violence Action

Company of Women

Council for Anglican Women’s Studies

E Tipu E Rea – support for teen parents

E Tū Union

Federation of Business and Professional Women New Zealand

Gabriela Aotearoa

Gender Justice Collective

Graduate Women New Zealand

Heretaunga Women’s Centre

Iranian Women in NMZ

Kapiti Women’s Centre

Lower Hutt Women’s Centre

Migrant Action Trust

National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges l Ngā Whare Whakaruruhau o Aotearoa

National Council of Women

NZ Prostitutes Collective


Peace Movement Aotearoa

Project Gender

Rural Women New Zealand

Shama Ethnic Women’s Trust

She is Not Your Rehab

Sociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (SAANZ)

Tautoko Mai Sexual Harm Support

Te Kupenga Whakaoti Mahi Patunga / National Network of Family Violence Services

The Period Place

Women About Sound

Michèle A’Court, ONZM, comedian and writer

Josephine Bartley, Auckland Councillor

Professor Virginia Braun (Psychology), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Professor Francis Collins (Sociology, Criminology, Gender Studies), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Professor Jennifer Curtin (Politics and Public Policy), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Angela Dalton, Auckland Councillor

Chris Darby, Auckland Councillor

Associate Professor Vivienne Elizabeth (Sociology), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Julie Fairey, Auckland Councillor

Alf Filipaina, Auckland Councillor

Dr Gay Marie Francisco, University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Professor Nicola Gavey, (Psychology), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Dr Debbie Hager (Population Health),  University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Shane Henderson, Auckland Councillor

Huhana Hickey, MNZM, Disability Advocate

Richard Hills, Auckland Councillor

Honorary Associate Professor Louise Humpage (Sociology), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Professor Priya Kurian (Political Science and Public Policy), University of Waikato / Te Whare Wananga o Waikato

Dr Jade Le Grice (Psychology), Associate Dean Māori, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Associate Professor Carrie Leonetti (Law), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Kerrin Leoni, Auckland Councillor

Professor Steve Matthewman (Sociology), University of Auckland / Waipapa Taumata Rau

Ruth Money MNZM, Independent Victim Advocate

Professor Mandy Morgan (Psychology), Massey University / Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa

Dr Cassandra Mudgway, Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha / University of Canterbury

Associate Professor Khylee Quince, Te Manukura Ture/Dean, Te Kura Ture/School of Law,  Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau / AUT

Ara Marie Leal Rodriguez (Sociology), University of Auckland | Waipapa Taumata Rau

Dr Alison Towns, Director, Mt Albert Psychological Services Ltd.

Emily Writes, writer and speaker, and the best-selling author of the books Rants in the Dark and Is it Bedtime Yet?