Protesters using the atrocities of the Holocaust as a comparison to New Zealand's Covid-19 restrictions have been condemned.
Holocaust Centre of New Zealand chairwoman Deborah Hart told Breakfast the use of placards was "absolutely appalling and very upsetting" to those in the Jewish community, particularly to survivors and their families.
"What you have to understand is what the Holocaust was, it was the deliberate attempt to exterminate the Jews. It was defined by antisemitic ideology, propaganda and legislation and it was the systematic implementation of unprecedented extermination techniques.
"Of course it wasn’t just aimed at the Jews — those who were gay, disabled, political opponents. Eleven million people murdered, six million of them Jews — 1.5 million children murdered in the Holocaust. To equate that to what is happening now, it’s just a complete false equivalence."
Around 6 million people died in the Holocaust - the systematic murder of European Jews by Nazi Germany between 1941 and 1945 during World War II.
Hart remarked it was "saddening" to have to appear on television to remind people of the Holocaust, saying the weaponisation of the word for political purposes pointed to a "real lack of education and understanding".
The Holocaust Centre of New Zealand had "numerous" education programmes protesters could access, but in the meantime they should apologise, Hart said, and stop the comparisons.
Protesters wearing the Star of David was also "perverse", she said.
"Jews were made to wear a star to single them out and people are choosing to wear the Star of David as a political protest. Of course if a Jewish person had chosen not to wear that Star of David they could be shot dead on the spot.
"So there’s a rich irony there of people choosing to wear a yellow star. But it’s also bad enough that the Nazis misappropriated a beloved Jewish symbol, we now have the anti-vaxx movement claiming the Star of David for their movement. Really quite appalling."
Breakfast presenter Matty McLean asked Hart what she made of leaders and political figures being compared to the Nazis and Hitler.
"Well not everything perceived as bad is the Holocaust and not everyone you disagree with is a Nazi," Hart said.
"Really, again, it’s just a false equivalence. Perversely, Hitler didn’t want the Jews to be vaccinated, he wanted them dead. Here we have a Government trying to safeguard the life of every person. You may disagree with the way the Government is doing that, that is absolutely your right, but you can’t say that the Government is trying to murder a group of people. That’s just not true."
Hart ended: "They have every right in the world to protest, they have every right to hold the Government to account, that's not a problem. But they should not be doing this in a perverse way."