7 Dec 2008

Criminologist calls for more research on hate crime

7:28 pm on 7 December 2008

A leading criminologist says New Zealand needs to do more research on the amount of hate crime committed here.

His comments follow the jailing of Hayden McKenzie for at least 21 years for the murder of a Korean student on the West Coast on Friday.

It was revealed in court that McKenzie was already serving a life sentence for the murder of a West Coast transsexual in 1999, and Justice Simon France said his crimes arose from his white supremacist beliefs.

Associate professor Michael Rowe, who heads Victoria University's Institute of Criminology, says currently there is no reliable information about the level of hate crime in this country and that needs to change.

He says having proper records would make it easier to identify offenders and intervene.

Mr Rowe says if we don't do that our reputation as a tolerant, liberal society will suffer.

He says it's important this country can deal with hate crime as it becomes more multi-cultural.

Mr Rowe says New Zealand needs to ensure sufficient support services are in place to help victims of hate crime.