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Diplomatic put-down offensive to Asian community

Pansy Wong National Party Asian Relationships Spokeswoman

14 June 2005

Diplomatic put-down offensive to Asian community

National's Asian Relationships spokeswoman, Pansy Wong, says comments made by New Zealand's High Commissioner to Canada that new Asian migrants are one of the country's biggest problems are racist.

She says the advice that Graham Kelly gave to a Canadian Senate select committee on fisheries and oceans shows he is lacking in the professional conduct expected from diplomats.

Mrs Wong says she is astounded that a New Zealand diplomat has put down a large section of our population in front of a foreign Government, and believes his comments will cause a backlash for our Asian communities.

"I am the patron of the New Zealand Chinese Conservation Trust, which has won Green Ribbon awards for its tireless work with the Asian community in educating people about our wonderful environment and to promote conservation. The trust has hundreds of committed members.

"I therefore challenge Graham Kelly to back up his comments that all new Asian immigrants are strip-mining our beaches.

"Phil Goff, dismissing the comments as intended to be light-hearted, lays bare the hollowness of Labour's claim that they celebrate diversity and champion inclusiveness.

"Graham Kelly should step down. He can't represent New Zealand if he wishes to voice racist opinions and alienate Asian New Zealanders."

ENDS

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