Maori Party policies are racially divisive and will turn New Zealand into the Zimbabwe of the South Pacific, NZ First leader Winston Peters has claimed.In his prime Winston Peters was like a crocodile in the mud, waiting for some poor animal to venture into the water. Many a politician fell victim to his sharp tongue and muck throwing.
Mr Peters used a speech to Wanganui Grey Power to launch a stinging attack on the party, targeting renegade MP Hone Harawira's "white motherf.....s" email and the looming repeal of the foreshore and seabed law.
"We should beware of any ethnic or religious group that seeks power.
But that was a few years ago. Now he just comes across as desperately opportunistic. He sees a brown man being widely attacked for racism, and hopes some of the anger directed against Harawira will translate into votes for NZ First.
But it's not enough to attack Maori. There are other non-whites to slam:
But while accusing Mr Harawira of sowing racial division, he also launched into the growing Asian population, which he said was projected to hit 400,000 in Auckland in seven years.I've yet to hear a compelling reason why the small number of immigration we permit from Asia is a bad thing. Are Asians "bad people"? They talk funny and look funny. So? They drive badly. Wait, there is actually no evidence to back that up. They drive up house prices. So do UK immigrants.
He said increased Asian immigration and a growing trend towards multiculturalism was a "force for disintegration".
He referred to studies he claimed showed many people born under China's one child policy who now lived here were using immigration policies to bring in their parents and grandparents, turning New Zealand into a rest home for Asian pensioners.
Most Asian immigrants are hard workers and contribute enormously to the country. We need more immigration, not less.
We've heard this dog-whistle before. Thankfully most people recognise it for what it is - a desperate attempt by a cynic to return to power.
Winston's luck ran out last election. I wouldn't completely discount a return to Parliament, but nor do I expect it. He would need to lose some of the arrogance and swagger that so disgusted the electorate in 2008.