NZ First MP racist comments – Yesterday and Today

New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser racist comments could harm New Zealandʻs international reputation.

“If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you’re a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines,” he wrote.

Act Party leader John Banks said the comments were “crazy” and “bizarre”, while Labour Leader David Shearer believed they could hurt New Zealand’s reputation in other countries.

Prime Minister John Key was “appalled” by the comments, while the New Zealand Muslim Association called them “senseless”.

But in an interview with Newstalk ZB’s political editor Barry Soper, Mr Prosser stood by his controversial stance.

He denied that the use of “Wogistan” was racist, citing mentions of it being a “mythical place”, which could even have been “a real place”..

Mr Prosser yesterday

“Look, people can read things into it if they want,” he said.

“I have a particular style in my Investigate column which is, um, reasonably blunt, and I speak a lot of things that other people are talking about but won’t necessarily say.

“I don’t think it’s anything derogatory particularly, I don’t have any real time for the worst extreme elements of Islam who treat women in a poor fashion. So, I certainly think it’s appropriate for me to make those comments.”

Mr Prosser today

Under fire New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser has apologised “unreservedly” for his comments about Muslims in an attempt to save his political career, saying he was wrong to use terms like “Wogistan” and to call for a flying ban for young Muslim men.

Mr Prossers comments have been picked up by media around the world and have sparked calls for his resignation or sacking.

He avoided media yesterday but issued a statements today offering his apology and later spoke to reporters at Parliament.

He said he’d failed to distinguish between the vast majority of Muslims who were law abiding citizens and the “tiny minority” who were involved in terrorism.”I realise that’s caused offence to those people unjustifiably and unnecessarily and I’m apologising unreservedly to them.”

Mr Prosser said rather than calling for young Muslim men to be banned from travelling by air, he should have called for an investigation into the merits of “target profiling”.

NZ First Leader Winston Peters initially said there was “an element of truth’ to what Mr Prosser wrote but that his MP had failed to balance his attack by acknowledging that the majority of Muslims were peaceful and law abiding.

In a subsequent statement, Mr Peters said Mr Prosser had “wrongfully impugned millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslims” and the article did not represent the views of NZ First.

Featured image: KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ

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