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PM says Peters muddleheaded and confused

10 November 2002 Media Statement

PM says Peters muddleheaded and confused

Prime Minister Helen Clark today described Winston Peter’s latest diatribe as muddleheaded and confused.

“In his conference speech, Mr Peters takes a round arm swing at Maori, the Govenor-General, and migrants.

“He claims that migrants are welcome, but should leave their language and customs at home. This is ridiculous, and was never a standard applied to our Pakeha forebears. If it had been, English would not be spoken as a first language in New Zealand today.

“It’s time Mr Peters came into the twenty-first century. All western societies are aging, and scarcely replacing themselves. Most, like ours, have skills deficits. The demographics and the skills needs mean that immigration is an imperative. And no western society applies racially discriminatory criteria to its immigration.

“Most western societies also recognise that migrants settle best in a new environment where they and their children retain links with their own languages and customs.

“Mr Peters claims to have export-friendly policies. He should think again. His message to Asia, in particular, appears to be: ‘please buy our goods, but don’t send your people here to study, travel, work, or live’.

“Around sixty per cent of New Zealand’s exports go to the Asia Pacific. Japan, China, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia are all important markets, and will be even more important in the future.

“Anti-Asian diatribes, like Mr Peters, are damaging to New Zealand’s economy and international relationships. If he has any interest in the future prosperity and security of New Zealand, he should shut up. If all he’s interested in is muckraking and scaremongering, no doubt he’ll persist as a fringe-politician of the Pauline Hanson variety. He may well reflect on where she is today,” Helen Clark said.

ENDS

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