Media asked for restraint when reporting Peters
Green MP Metiria Turei is calling on the media to show restraint in repeating the racist utterances of Winston Peters.
"In themselves, Mr Peters' comments are merely offensive," said Metiria Turei. The danger lies in the media uncritically accepting his line that we face some kind of 'racial meltdown' as a result of 'unfettered' immigration.
"Mr Peters spouts this kind of odious racism precisely because he knows he can get a headline out of it. Sadly, the more the media report his comments, the more widely it is accepted as 'fact.'
"Is there a single serious commentator who would accept Mr Peters' assertion that we are 'witnessing the Balkanisation of our country'?
"What about his attempt to draw a parallel between this country and the situations in Kosovo, Sri Lanka and Northern Ireland?
"Throughout history, demagogues, rabble-rousers and self-proclaimed nationalists have climbed to political power by insinuating that some group - different in colour, culture or creed - poses some kind of threat to the rest of the population.
"The media should learn the lessons of history and treat Mr Peters' 'claims' with the contempt they deserve and refuse to repeat them.
"There are issues around immigration to this country," said Mrs Turei. "There are problems for migrants - particularly women - and their access to support services and jobs. These need to be addressed urgently and the Green Party has called for special task force to be established to tackle them.
"Immigrants contribute greatly to this country's cultural and economic wealth. Rather than being the cause, they are merely fresh victims of the problems of inequality and intolerance that have plagued society for decades."