Todd Muller's Make America Great Again cap represents more than a trip to the United States and has no place being in his Parliamentary office, says a Muslim community leader.
Aliya Danzeisen of the Islamic Women's Council said she understands it's a souvenir, but the cap should be kept at home.
"That hat represents the denial of the freedom of beliefs. That hat represents the denial of minority voices. That hat represents the vitriol that has been harming that nation and has been harming the world for the last four years," Danzeisen said.
"If he wants to be the Prime Minister of New Zealand it would be nice if he'd choose to display objects that represent the values of New Zealand."
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Muller, a US politics nut, got the MAGA hat in 2016 when he went to watch both the Democratic and Republican campaigns. He also got two Hillary Clinton pins.
Both souvenirs are on display in his Bay of Plenty electorate and Muller told TVNZ yesterday the MAGA cap and the Clinton pins would be moving to his new leader of the Opposition office in Parliament.
He was asked why he'd display the hat when so many saw it as being synonymous with racial hatred and bigotry and replied:
"Look, I went to a convention. I went to both of them and I took back mementos from quite an extraordinary experience listening to the voices, faces, beliefs and values of all America. I brought that back and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
"It sits in the corner along with all sorts of other memorabilia."
Muller said he believed when people saw the context of his souvenirs "I think they'll be pretty relaxed".
Danzeisen, who was born and raised in America, said the meaning of the hat had changed since 2016.
She invited Muller to sit down with her so they could have a conversation about what the MAGA hat now represents.
"It doesn't just mean a trip to America it now means a lot more for a lot of people."
Danzeisen said she didn't think Muller "fully thought it through" and asked him to reconsider his decision to take it with him to Parliament.
She said if it was just a personal memento of his travels, then it shouldn't be put on a prominent shelf and should instead stay at home. There were "more productive" things he could display.
The cap has become the centre of controversy online, with people both slamming it as inappropriate and defending Muller's position on it.