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Track Record Renders Academic’s Criticism Absurd

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader

24 January 2014

Track Record Renders Academic’s Criticism Absurd

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says it is absurd that a Fijian academic with a poor human rights record has launched an attack on him.

Fijian Shaista Shameem, now working as Massey University’s migrants director, responded to Mr Peters’s speech in Auckland on Friday saying he was encouraging racism against migrants.

“It is extraordinary that someone who defended the 2006 Fijian military coup is even allowed to live in New Zealand let alone work here at a university with the ambitious title of ‘migrants director’.

“She has the audacity to comment on our political discussions and make criticisms that are completely wrong. Has she read the speech? If so, she clearly did not take in any of the main points.

“Her statement is a rant and rave to justify and enhance her new position and get as much publicity for herself as she can.

“What is truly disappointing is the fact that a New Zealand university has now become a second branch of the Immigration Service. Is it now an employment agency for migrants?

“It beggars belief that a university is employing someone with such a poor track record.

“From her position as Fiji Humans Rights Commission director she supported the 2006 Bainimarama coup, and was appointed Ombudsman - an appointment considered unlawful by an international human rights group.

“She is well known for failing to investigate human rights abuses during and following the coup.

“As commission director she condemned the advice of the New Zealand High Commissioner and strongly criticised Prime Minister Helen Clark. She also came out swinging against many well-known people in Fiji who were later dismissed from their positions.

“She even sought to interfere in the New Zealand Government by attempting to have the High Commissioner to Fiji replaced by a more ‘understanding’ commissioner.

“When the well-named Shaista Shameem gets involved in accusations of racism she doesn’t know what thin ice she is skating on,” Mr Peters says.

ENDS

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