NZ First firmly against foreign ownership

In a Q & A interview this morning Winston Peters confirmed that NZ First had a firm policy against foreign ownership.

Winston Peters says foreign ownership policy unchanged

Winston Peters has sent a strong signal that his party would stop foreigners buying property in New Zealand.

The New Zealand First leader says it has always been the party’s bottom line for NZ housing and farmland to be for New Zealand people. He said he would adopt the same view as China where foreigners cannot buy property but can lease it for 70 years.

Mr Peters told Q+A this morning NZ First doesn’t want NZ land to be “owned by everybody around the world – and absentee-owned at that”.

Edited video:  (Source: Q and A) Winston Peters says foreign ownership policy unchanged (0:46)

Full interview: Peters – Polls don’t tell the real story (11:10)

Peters didn’t quite say this would be non-negotiable post-election but made it clear it was a high priority policy for NZ First. He said people should check the NZ First policy. I checked for policy and other references to foreign ownership.

Policy: Housing

Ensure that New Zealand’s housing stock is restricted to New Zealanders

  • Non-residents who are not New Zealand citizens would be ineligible for home ownership except if a genuine need to do so can be demonstrated.
  • The terms and conditions upon which existing approvals by the Overseas Investment Commission for the ownership of land by non-residents would be fully monitored and enforced.

Policy: Primary Industries

  • An end to land sales to foreign interests, and policies to ensure the retention of the farming sector in the ownership of New Zealand resident and New Zealand farmers.

Policies updated 20 March 2014.
Further updates in the 2014 election campaign.

Members Bill: Land Transfer (Foreign Ownership of Land Register) Amendment Bill

The purpose of this Bill is to provide vital information on the extent of foreign ownership of New Zealand. This Bill proposes a comprehensive register of all foreign owned land in New Zealand. The register will record names and nationalities, the amount of land and value of land, and the regions in which the land is situated. Purchasers will provide the information for the register.

Media Release: Going Going Gone – The Kiwi Family Farm

Rt Hon Winston Peters

“To allow one foreign company to buy 29 farms is a sin,” says Rt Hon Winston Peters, in reference to the sale of 13 Synlait Farms in Canterbury to a majority-owned Chinese company which was also allowed to buy the 16 Crafar farms.

“This is not foreign investment, it is the transfer of Kiwi wealth in wholesale quantities.

“Many of our family farms are disappearing. Young would-be farm owners are being priced out of ownership as foreigners are allowed to buy-up blocks of farms in one go.

“This Government clearly favours foreign ownership over ordinary New Zealanders and their dreams of doing well on the land.

“It is not a fair go for New Zealanders. There is no reason why these farms could not have been sold individually giving Kiwis a more competitive chance at ownership.

“The end of the treasured Kiwi farm, as the backbone of the economy, is nigh unless we say no to more farm sales to non-resident foreigners,” says Mr Peters.

Media Release: Another Rubber Stamp For Foreign Buy-Up

Rt Hon Winston Peters

“New Zealand First wants a halt to sales of farmland to non-resident foreign buyers.

Media Release: New Zealand First Says No More Farm Sales To Non Resident Foreigners

Richard Prosser

New Zealand First is calling for a complete halt to sales of New Zealand farmland to non resident foreign buyers.

Media Release: Go Buy American Farms Harvard

Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First has criticised the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for allowing Harvard University to buy a big dairy farm in Otago.

Media Release: Keep Crafar Farms, Appeals Winston Peters

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Rt Hon Winston Peters has made a last ditch appeal for the government to keep the Crafar farms in the hands of New Zealanders where they belong.

This confirms a consistent opposition to foreign ownership.

Despite this we will have to wait until after the election before we find out whether NZ First get a chance to negotiate to play a part in the next government, and if they do whether foreign ownership of houses and land is a part of any policy agreements.

Winston Peters et al

Winston Peters is currently in full attack mode. He is trying to destroy the political career of Peter Dunne, and he is trying to demolish the United Future party.

And Peters is also trying to bring down our current government.


Peters uses any dirty tactics he can get away with, including lying and making accusations that he has no evidence to prove – and he repeatedly makes accusations and assertions he must know are false.

Decency and democracy don’t matter to Peters. Much of his political ambition has been to destroy.

Peter Dunne is on a downer of his own making.

But Peters is a political vulture, an opportunistic vulture. He is trying to put in the boot, scratch out eyes and pour his acidic tongue over it all. He wants victims with incurring maximum damage.

Peters is playing the dirtiest kind of politics, the sort of nasty undemocratic politics that most of the public despise.

It should be recognised that Peters is not doing this on his own.

Some of the media actively assist Peters (although notably John Campbell has started to hold him to account and demand answers – but Peters is very practised in the art of avoiding questions, of avoiding providing any substance to his bluster.

And Peters is on this current rampage with the apparent support of compliant colleagues.

Six other NZ First MPs walked out of Parliament with Peters last week when he put on an attention seeking tantrum.

Six other MPs sit behind Peters in Parliament, supporting his actions. Those MPs are:

  • Barbara Stewart
  • Tracey Martin
  • Andrew Williams
  • Richard Prosser
  • Denis O’Rourke
  • Asenati Lole-Taylor

You can see photos of them all here:

How do they justify their support of politics at it’s dirtiest and most destructive? Is this how they want to be seen as MPs?

About a year ago I asked all MPs:

Do you support “gotcha” politics where attacks and accusations are made to try and damage parties and to discredit and potentially end the careers of fellow MPs? Yes/No?

Tracey Martin replied No.

Richard Prosser replied in more detail:

No I don’t support it.

Whilst there are, by definition and indeed of necessity, always going to be
differences of opinion and philosophy in politics, it behoves us as Parliamentarians
to play the ball and not the man (or woman), and to address such differences, and
attempt to influence policy, through reasoned debate and by keeping an open mind,
and above all by having regard to the wishes of the voting public and the best
interests of the nation.

While we may not agree with the views or positions of any particular Member or
Party, it has to be remembered that most MPs enter Parliament with genuinely held
beliefs and with honourable intentions, and we owe it to the future of our
Parliamentary democracy to respect that fact.

Beyond holding Members and Parties to account as regards their current and intended
actions, and their present and past indications of character, we have a duty to be
fair in our dealings, and to conduct our affairs in the dignified manner which the
public has a right to expect.

Best regards

Richard Prosser

Prosser and Martin and the other NZ First MPs are supporting the opposite of this.

Peters has spent a career playing highly questionable politics. Are all the NZ First MPs happy following suit?

What Prosser should have addressed – airport profiling

“One aspect of Prosser’s rambling polemic touched on something of genuine importance.” Airport profiling.

Richard Prosser caused an uproar when he bashed all Muslims with his keyboard in an Investigate column. When this surfaced in blogs and mainstream media this caused a furore. Prosser began as unrepentant, but quickly changed his stance, making an “unreserved” apology – of sorts. See Prosser: ‘I’m apologising unreservedly’ - see also Retreat from Wogistan.

Prosser also suggested what his approach should have been.

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”.

A column in D Scene by Associate Law Professor Colin Gavaghan has picked up on this.

Should we use security profiling at airports?

One aspect of Prosser’s rambling polemic touched on something of genuine importance. The controversial suggestion terror suspects should be identified based on their appearance is being taken seriously in some quarters.

US philospher and neuroscientest Sam Harris has argued it makes sense to target airport security efforts at youngish Muslim males, as they are the group almost exclusively resonsible for suicide agttacks on aircraft.

Since there us no test that can be administered to detect “Muslimness”, profiling will inevitably boil down to singling out people who “look Muslim”. Read: of middle eastern or south Asian appearance.

Leaving aside the social, ethical and legal problems of using ethnicity as a proxy for dangerousness, it doesn’t take a criminal mastermind of Moriarty proportions to see how this system might be gamed.

As security expert Bruce Schneier has warned, it wouldn’t be smart to rely on a system that can be fooled by a bottle of hair dye.

Some more recent developments eschew racial profiling, using putatively more subtle and accurate markers.

The Facial Actions Coding System works by monitoring all the little muscle movements. Other sorts of behavioural profiling focus on how someone walks and how much they are sweating.

All of which is intended to help security people see into people’s minds. Are they filled with righteous rage, or just slightly irritated by the delayed flight?

How far should we go towards a predictive model of law enforcement?

If it works, the safety benefits could be massive – not only in preventing terrorist atrocities, but maybe also spree killings like Sandy Hook.

It’s one thing, though, if the test just results in someone being subject to a minor inconvenience, like a brief search.

It’s quite another if “false positives” result in completely innocent people being shot dead by jumpy police.

In the middle we have a whole range of possibile inconveniences and restrictions to which people could be subject, based on predictions of what they might do.

For those who don’t resemble the profile of a “typical” terrorist, all this may seem like a price worth paying for greater security. But it won’t be them paying the priced.

Of course this column has attracted minimal attention after the raising of the issue by Prosser. A reasoned and reasonable approach doesn’t make the news, even though it addresses the important issues.




NZ First would have dumped Prosser but for Horan – and Peters?

A NZ First spokesperson has made a remarkable statement:

Mr Prosser has been widely vilified for his anti-Muslim comments in a recent magazine column, but party leader Winston Peters has so far said he doesn’t believe Mr Prosser should leave Parliament.

But a well-placed party source told the Weekend Herald yesterday that even if Mr Prosser survived the immediate fallout and New Zealand First secured 5 per cent or more of the vote at the election, “he’ll be so far down the list next time you won’t see the top of his head”.

“He’s p****d the party off no end. The biggest issue is his total lack of judgment.”

“The moment he started talking like that he lost all credibility with his argument about terrorism,” the source said.

“Peters is seething about it as much as anyone else.” The fact that (Brendan) Horan has gone is the only thing that’s saved him.”

It’s remarkable that someone is speaking contrary to Peters’ position.

Peters knew about the column, Prosser presumes he had read it and he said nothing until it blew up in the media. He kept supporting Prosser and just went for ther Clayton’s apology as a sop, to try and take the heat out of the situation.

Peters doesn’t think Prosser should leave Parliament.

But a party spokesperson thinks that Prosser should leave Parliament. He says that it’s a certainty Prosser will be effectively dumped via the list at the next election.

It’s even more remarkable the spokesperson suggests that the only reason why Prosser hasn’t been dumped now is that it would not be a good look for the party, having just dumped Brendan Horan. How else can you see this?

It’s not just Prosser’s credibility that’s taken a major hit here.

Winston Peters’ credibility was already somewhat dented but this reinforces and adds to the perception that he is a master of political convenience and confusion. Does he agree with Prosser or not? Does he think Prosser should remain an MP or not? Is he seething or not?

On his past record all that Peters cares about is Winston Peters.

And this is a major embarrassement for NZ First. Not only is the party damaged by what Prosser has done, they self harm even more by saying that they won’t take action that they think is appropriate because it wouldn’t be a good look for the party.

The end result is an even worse look for the party.

Prosser out on his ear, maybe next month?

Richard Prosser wrote an extreme column about Muslims, a very deliberate aim to inflame, and to sound like a tough guy. And he was apparently unrepentant. Patrick Gower reported:

No apology over Muslim statements

New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser has outraged Muslims. Both he and his leader, Winston Peters, refuse to apologise.

“If MPs don’t say this, who will?” Mr Prosser says. “We are here to represent and to speak about the views that people have.”

A tough stance from someone who will never back down. From his book Uncommon Dissent:

One of the best things about being a no nonsense right wing nationalist social and political commentator is never having to say you are sorry.

It doesn’t matter if you upset anyone, because the only people likely to be offended by your unabased dissertations of truth and common sense are pinkos and liberals and other whingeing minorities whose opinions don’t count anyway.

And get offended they certainly do!

And this his how Prosser is promoted on his book sales site:

RICHARD PROSSER is not just one of the country’s newest politicians. He’s also the outspoken, straight-talking, politically-incorrect mind behind Investigate magazine’s monthly “Eyes Right” column.

ON ‘LIBERALS’: “I mean if people want to be weak, stupid, effeminate, erectile dysfunctional, naïve, apologist, namby-pamby, thumb-sucking, lefty pinko fantasy-land morons, let them find their own word for themselves, and leave “liberal” for us genuine freedom-loving, gonad-equipped, libertarian go-getters”


But that was last year. And his unrepentant refusal to apologise was last Tuesday.

By Wednesday Prosser had changed his tune. Stuff reported Prosser’s sorry but backlash continues:

The Waimakariri-based list MP has vowed not to write any more inflammatory columns, saying: “It’s what a shock jock does, and I’m not that any more.”

The “gonad-equipped, libertarian go-getter” is not that anymore?

He “unreservedly” apologised for his provocative Investigate magazine column, which said Muslims should be banned from Western airlines.

Last night, he insisted his mea culpa was genuine. “I think you can learn from these things and not make the same mistake twice.”

He added: “I suppose the disappointing thing is that you realise you have made some mistake and set out to make an apology and that doesn’t get accepted, then that’s a little bit on the nose.”

The article was “not his best work”, he admitted. “I shouldn’t have allowed that to go out and tar them all with the same brush. Nor should I have gone down the line of calling for a blanket ban . . . it’s not a political solution.

It’s an off-the-cuff, in-the-pub solution.”

The column was not an “off-the-cuff, in-the-pub” comment. Neither was what he wrote in his book. He has made big claims about his no nonsense unrepentant wish to offend people “whose opinions don’t count anyway”.

Prosser has a right to speak, like anyone in New Zealand. But that doesn’t rule out consequences.

And as soon as he feared consequences he backslid. He made a half arsed apology – he said sorry if people were offended, he didn’t ‘unreservedly” apologise. And then said it was “on the nose” if people didn’t accept his apology – having written “One of the best things about being a no nonsense right wing nationalist social and political commenter is never having to say you are sorry“.

And he didn’t stand by what he had written. When a motion was moved in the House making a statement distancing Parliament from what he had written Prosser was in the House and agreed with the motion. (See Parliamentary motion on religious equality).

Prosser’s words obviously can’t be trusted. He has not been an honest MP.

ON KEEPING POLITICIANS HONEST: “Our Prime Minister, and members of the Cabinet, need to have a similar Sword of Damocles hanging over them; they need to know that if they don’t perform, conform, behave properly, and do as We The People tell them, that they’ll be out on their ears, not maybe in three years time, but maybe next month. That should keep the bastards honest.”

He has not performed or conformed as an MP – all of Parliament made it clear they didn’t think he had behaved properly.

If one bastard was to be kept honest he would be out on his ear. Maybe this month.

Parliamentary motion on religious equality

In reaction to the Prosser column on Muslims and the resulting furore Russel Norman moved a motion on religious equality:

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and thanks to the House. I move, That this House affirm that all New Zealanders regardless of their religious faith or ethnicity should be treated equally before the law, and that the rights and dignity of all people—in particular, of Muslims—should be upheld, and that the House acknowledge the responsibility of all New Zealanders to care for one another, to honour the sanctity of each and every one of us, and to act with justice, equity, and respect in all that we say and we do.

Motion agreed to.

There has been some criticism of this, with claims that it gives special rights to Muslims. For example ‘BeaB’ at Kiwiblog (with supporting ‘likes’ and comments):

But why do we have to give “Muslims particularly” more equality, freedoms etc than anyone else?
Because that’s what they voted unanimously for in Parliament yesterday. Sends a shiver along my female spine.

But that claim is incorrect, apart from the impossibility of ‘more equality’ this motion was simply a statement to distance Parliament from Prosser’s comments.

In a Dominion column Sean Plunkett claimed the motion was discriminatory by mentioning Muslims:

Parliament was even moved to pass a resolution recommitting itself to non-discrimination, particularly against Muslims. As I pointed out to Green Leader Russel Norman, who penned the motion, mentioning Muslims was kind of self-defeating and in itself discriminatory.

But the motion was hardly “making or showing an unfair or prejudicial distinction between different categories of people or things”, it simply made a point by mentioning Muslims. There doesn’t seem to be any unfairness, it was an attempt to counter the unfairness of Prosser’s comments.

Dr Norman shot back that the point of the vote was to show that Parliament didn’t agree with what Mr Prosser had written.

That’s certainly how it seemed to me, and nothing more than that. Peter Dunne agrees:

I think this was a generic motion in the wake of the Prosser incident, with a little flick in the tail aimed at him. I do not think it pro-Islam in the sense some are suggesting.

And all of parliament agreed as the motion passed, and as Dunne confirms…

NZ First MPs (including Prosser) were in the House at the time and did not oppose it.

Even Richard Prosser had no problem with the motion – unless he didn’t have the gumption to be seen to be voting against it.

I don’t think the motion was worded as well as it could be, but it was obviously a signal that Parliament disagreed with and was distancing itself from Prosser’s comments.

And Prosser joined this distancing from and disagreeing with what he himself had written.

This doesn’t sound like the no nonsense right wing nationalist social and political commenter he claimed to be in his book.


Blog of bigotry

At Kiwiblog I’ve been involved in many ‘discussions’ about Muslims and lately about what Richard Prosser wrote and said. David Farrar noted in a post:

I have to say I’ve been appalled by the fact that more than a trivial number of people (including commenters here – but also on media sites) have actually defended or agreed with what Richard Prosser said regarding banning anyone who is or looks like a Muslim from flying.

To be blunt, they are bigots. You can not defend what he said and not be a bigot. It really is as simple as that.

Below is a sample of what some of the ‘bigots’ think about Islam – and about me. This is from just two threads yesterday, General Debate and The nature of bigotry (which illustrates the nature of some of the bigots).

  • Bigotry: stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own
  • Synonyms – narrow-mindedness, bias, discrimination.

It’s not all bigotry, other descriptions could also be used, but bigotry is a big part.

Left Right and Centre:

They aint kiwis mate- they’re muslims. I like to think those two things are mutually exclusive and that’s that.


All you have to do is take a good look at England so as to appreciate the Enemy Within. That country is screwed and thats due to letting too many imigrants in WHO WILL NOT ASSIMILATE. They want to bring with them the awful lifestyle that they ran away from.

Prosser is simply saying what everyone thinks as they get searched at the airport.

Note the contradiction.


Pete George will be uttering prissy platitudes right up until the moment they cut his throat


I think Prosser was spot on. Muslims are a danger to any society – including their own.


Pete George ; we are not multicultural. Tolerance of differences has never extended to tolerating the intolerant.

“Tolerance of difference” is fine within a pluralist system where the ground rules are shared by the vast majority etc
However once you import large numbers of intolerant ,fundamentalists who have no history or tradition within ones ‘ and claiming multiculturalism and tolerance you are in for a whole heap of trouble.


If we’re so bloody tolerant ,why is there such a fuss about what Prosser said?

Looks to me like we’re intolerant of honest forthright men! (That goes for leftists,multiculturalists ,Muslim apologists,feminists,progressives etc)

Free speech for me but not for thee.

How come we tolerate Saudi money building mosques all over the western world when they won’t allow Christians to pray in private ? Tolerance indeed.

The apologists like PG and the Greens are like traitors opening the gates of the city. The difference is we know and see the danger and allow them to do it.

This is not “tolerance” it is cultural suicide.


Some around here, too many these days, are a prime example of dhimmitude.
Just remember to present the other cheek when they come for you, or the other side of the neck …..


I am fully entitled to be a bigot if I want to. I dont like the muslim life style and they way they regard non muslims.


DPF – I so disagree with you on so many levels. For a start Islam remains an existential threat to Western civilisation.

Over in Europe in places like France there are no-go zones where the police will not go, because they are ruled by Moslems. In Britain there have been calls to recognise sharia law as part of the law of the land.

The simple fact of the matter is that Moslems do not integrate into western countries. There is no separation between church and state in Islam. Given the high fertility and consequent population growth in the Moslem community and the incredibly low fertility amongst liberal western women it is only a matter of time if those population trends continue before Islam takes over. And they do want to take over. Islam divides the world into 2 houses – the house of Islam and the house of war.

So many of us see Islam as an enemy. It cannot be appeased or compromised with, it can only be resisted.

I appreciate that what Mr Prosser said was probably over the top. He should refrain from being a columnist while being an MP. However many of us can understand where his frustration comes from. We bend over backwards to appease Moslems. In my view many liberals like yourself have a rose tinted view of human nature that does not correspond with reality.


The “nature of bigotry” is primarily established by liberals, using the term as a weapon designed to shut down debate.


But why do we have to give “Muslims particularly” more equality, freedoms etc than anyone else?
Because that’s what they voted unanimously for in Parliament yesterday. Sends a shiver along my female spine.

I think BeaB has interpreted the motion in Parliament incorrectly, Muslims were mentioned in the statement but it didn’t give them more of anything.


I don’t think anyone can disagree that there is a piece of Islam that is pure evil (sharia law, genital mutilation, jihad etc), and most Muslims do not agree with those parts, but they do not fight it, not enough. That is why I am happy to oppose all of Islam, because Muslims are not willing to oppose the core, because Muslims tolerate the core, we must fight it.


As I said to Pete George yesterday “Why deny what is happening in Europe Pete………only you would wait to see evidence of militant Islam happening in NZ before you done anything about it.”


I’m going to submit a statue of you Pete…with your head in the sand… life on your knees under Muslim Rule!


Restricting the Muslim population to less than 2% is a matter of public safety!

Urban Redneck

I wouldn’t allow any immigrants into NZ from countries where Wahhabi Islam is routinely practiced. Period. They can keep their Taqiyah and Burqa over there.


Still got your head in the sand I see Pete….Muslims rule by stealth….by being appeased by people like you!


Dime is basically a bigot when it comes to muslims.

i think their religion is shit. i think most of them are scumbags. i dont care how “peaceful” we are told the majority of muslims are, ive just seen to much bad shit.

it pisses me off how they get a pass from the left too. how many muslim countries are there? int hose countries, how many are gay friendly? how many muslim countries have equal rights for women?

screw em.

At least dime’s honest about how he feels.


Russel Norman appears to be saying that we as a country should be falling over ourselves to tug the forelock to Muslims over and above anybody else.

[PG edit starts: graham has asked that I delete his quote as per his comment below and this comment on Kiwiblog becasue he thinks I have quoted him out of contect. I don't think I have misrepresnetd what he had been saying across a number of comments but to ensure full context is available I will provide these links:

howdarethey: Wandering slightly from my original point, which was that Russel Norman apparently is asking New Zealand to uphold more rights for Muslims. The question is, what specific rights do Muslims have that need to be upheld and enshrined by Parliament, over and above the rights of any other New Zealander?

If my wife has to become a Muslim to avail herself of these rights, as you seem to be suggesting, then that’s discrimination. If my wife has a passionate belief that she should maintain her modesty by wearing a scarf over the lower portion of her face – nothing to do with being a Muslim, just her own sense of what is proper – should she not be free to avail herself of the same rights that have apparently been accorded to Muslim women?

Russel Norman appears to be saying that we as a country should be falling over ourselves to tug the forelock to Muslims over and above anybody else. Which is actually pretty much what BeaB said at 11:53.

There are a number of other comments by others that may add to context, read the whole thread to see them.

I don't believe that Norman was asking for any special rights for Muslims, as I and others commented on in the thread.
Also, see my comment here that I believe shows that graham's claim in his middle paragraph (and in other comments) appears to be incorrect.

Edit ends]


I am all for tolerance but never of the ghastliness of radical Islam.


Islam is not a religion..I agree with Geert Wilders that it is a totalitarian ideology..It is also a deadly cult. There is no freedom in islam. There is only endless persecution for non muslims living under islamic dominance. There are multiple types of jihad including economic jihad. This is why so many non muslims from muslim dominated countries currently live here.

All the faux outrage is pathetic..What about Choudary and the cross he wanted removed? His complaint to Helen Clark re the number of senior females in her government..What of Hone and his wmf comment?

So many hypocrites …and blind fools.

There were challenges to those comments and alternate views but the point of this is to illustrate the thinking of some of the ‘bigots’.There was also a lot of support shown for these comments through the comment voting – while that is easily manipulated it does indicate many share these comments.

These types of comments are regularly expressed at Kiwiblog. I frequently see examples of “stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own”.

Kiwiblog is often displays bigotry (and racism and abuse of minorities).
(That is not a reflection on David Farrar, he obviously disagrees with the bigots but provides a free speech forum where bigots often participate).


A letter to Richard Prosser

Auckland Muslim Jason Kennedy penned this open letter to New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser (NZ Herald):

Dear Mr Prosser,

Unbeknown to myself, I am your enemy.

I consider this strange as I have never met you and harbour no ill will toward you. I am certain that if I walked past you on the street your suspicions would not be raised. If you were a customer in my shop I am certain you would not suspect that I pose your family any risk. For you see, I am Muslim, I am 30, and I am also white. Throw in the fact that I am an American expatriate – accent and all – and I possess quite the subterfuge. After all, I could sit next to you on a flight, our arms negotiating the armrest for space, and you would think nothing of it. And yet if between us the subject of religion arose, my reply would disable you with fear.

Or so your column would lead me to believe.

I am writing an open letter to you out of sympathy, respect, and the desire for understanding. I do not write this so publicly in order to give your opinions greater status than they deserve. Instead, I hope to circumvent your vitriol from tainting the views of other people who, through lack of personal experience with the Muslim community, may be susceptible to your very limited and ignorant view of our religion and families.

I will start by, ironically, providing you with some defence. It is absolutely your right to speak your mind freely with whatever opinions you so wish. That is one of the great liberties of this nation.

But let me be clear: speaking your mind is your right as a private citizen. As a Member of Parliament, you are a public servant, and your public opinions need to be more carefully delivered. You must be aware that the words of MPs are granted greater political legitimacy than those of private citizens.

It is frightening when someone with so much power to sway the opinions of others is so cavalier in his delivery. We entrust MPs to make defensible, rational, and sympathetic judgments in pursuit of the common good. Counter to this, your words seek to generate divisiveness by fostering an indefensible ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality.

Do you actually believe Muslims are so different to you that we should be trusted less than any other human being? Wherefore this presumption that those who commit terrible crimes in the name of Islam are actually considered heroes or true Muslims by the rest of us? Are we really so homologous to you? Woe to the Sikh or Hindu who you might accidentally not recognise for a Muslim in your eagerness to incite fear, all the while I, the unrecognisable white Muslim, sits next to you.

For you see, if the subject of religion is never broached between us, you will feel safer the entire trip knowing you sit next to a safe and reliable Pakeha. Let me assure you, I want that plane to land safely just as much as you do. I have family and friends who I want to be around for a good long time, and so do they.

The only reason I can think that you would harbour such ill-sentiment is that you have very little first-hand experience with Muslims. I can relate. I was not born into a Muslim family. However, with age I came to recognise my beliefs were congruent with Islam. That seemed a bit of a scary prospect, as I am sure you can appreciate that there is a great deal of Islamophobia in the United States, as well.

Once I actually met some Kiwi Muslims, I quickly realised my presumptions were entirely inaccurate. Muslim culture is not some monolithic fiction. Muslims are just like the majority of Kiwis: we love our summer barbecues, we avidly follow the All Blacks’ domination of rugby, we wear jandals, we buy fush n’ chups down the road. You see, Muslims come from all different backgrounds.

I was born in the US and descend from Irish stock. My wife was born in Fiji, and her Indian ancestors were relocated during the British slave trade. Many Kiwi Muslims are from India, the Middle East, east Africa, Indonesia, and Malaysia. We have all come here to share in what it means to be Kiwi. Between us we have a similar pathway to God, but we also respect that every non-Muslim is on their own pathway to God.

Your family and my family, we are each equally Kiwi, despite the fact that we may worship differently. We are equal to you in many other ways: my wife and I both happily pay the highest tax rate, our business creates revenue and employment for many New Zealanders, and our education benefits the New Zealand economy. We are even socially and politically active (gasp!).

If you think supporting terror is somehow intrinsic to Islam, or is somehow an inevitability of our religion, ask anyone in the Muslim community here: no one supports any act of violence or terror against any other living being, human or animal. That is what we call haram in Islam, which means “forbidden by God”. We have no support for terrorists who do such horrible things, and we cannot understand how they can call themselves Muslims. Their actions are entirely incompatible with Islam.

In order to establish better communication on this issue, my wife and I would like to invite you to dinner at our place the next time you are in Auckland. We would like to hear your story, and we would like to share ours. I believe that if you would grant us the pleasure of your company, it will give you a much more enlightened perspective on Muslims and Islam in general. I will leave my contact details with the editor if you wish to make good on our offer.

Two enemies who wish
to be your friends,
Jason (Naveed) Kennedy and
Khayreyah Wahaab

[PG: I hope Prosser takes up the offer and meets Jason and Khayreyah]

Kiwis and kiwiness also insulted by Prosser

Yesterday Richard Prosser tweeted “Hmm, wouldn’t it be terrible if people read the whole thing for themselves before commenting.”

I’ve read the whole thing. It seems very deliberately provocative and extreme. Prosser (et al) attacks one of the essences of Kiwiness.

This is how he concluded his column, with my comments.

I say this: In order to ensure safety for passengers, crew, and civilization alike, on the world’s airlines, it is necessary to send a message to those who would threaten that safety, and it is this;

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 airline …

- not at least and until, the religion of Islam has taken it upon itself , and proven that it is able, to prevent the extremists withing it’s fold from behaving in the manner in which they have done, these past dozen years and more.

I don’t believe that such an unreasonable demand to make.

It is a very unreasonable demand to make. One and a half billion people can’t be held responsible for the extreme actions of a few thousand who happen to share a very diverse religious umbrella.

Others will, of course; plenty of commentators will take umbridge at my suggestion, and not only because I’m an MP.

To me this says that the enemy is not merely at the departure gates; but that he – and she – is already within, that excessive tolerance, coupled with the twin evils of diversity and multiculturalism upheld and promoted by political correctness and other weaknesses of spirit and nationalism, mean that the citadel has already been breached, and that the terrorists have already won.

That sounds to me like a direct attack on Kiwi tolerance. And on our multiculturalism. We have a very diverse multicultural society.

I have debated a lot on blogs with people who have similar views to Prosser. These people seem to want just one religion, their own. They want just one culture, their own – a mythical single culture of the ‘good old days’.

They say that people who don’t fit their narrow ideal should not be allowed to immigrate here. Some go as far as suggesting that those already here that they don’t like should be deported.

While it’s hard to gauge what proportion of Kiwis would agree with these extremes it’s clear there are some. That helps  demonstrate how diverse Kiwi culture actually is – ranging from famous Kiwi tolerance to extreme bigotry and intolerance.

We can do better than this.

Yes Richard, we can do better than this. We can start by accepting that Kiwis are are very diverse cultural bunch. A bunch that won’t abuse and offend foreign peoples and different religions. A bunch that shouldn’t suggest draconian restrictions on hundreds of millions of people because of the extreme actions of a few thousand.

And closer to home, we can do much better than attacking tolerance, diversity and multiculturalism. They are not evil. They are very Kiwi.

Richard, you are attacking Kiwiness.

And you are talking up a problem we don’t have in New Zealand. We don’t have a problem with Muslim terrorism. We don’t have a problem with tens of thousands of New Zealanders who choose to follow the religion of  Islam. They deserve to be treated like the rest of peaceful and law abiding New Zealanders.

We don’t have the ‘enemy within’ that you seem to be suggesting. We have many enemies within, but not the one you seemed intent on stirring up.

One of the enemies within New Zealand is intolerance of differences, where some from within are intent on insulting and isolating and ostracising and rejecting fellow Kiwis because they are different to themselves.

We can do better than this.

Prosser’s Clayton’s apology, questions remain

Richard Prosser apologised yesterday, sort of. It was a Clayton’s apology, the type of apology you make when you’re not really wanting to apologise. He said he was sorry if anyone was offended by what he said. By a column that appears carefuilly designed to offend. He expected ‘umbridge’:

I don’t believe that is such an unreasonable demand to make. Others will, of course; plenty of commentators will take umbridge at my suggestion, and not only because I’m an MP.

Umbrage definition, offense; annoyance; displeasure: to feel umbrage at a social snub; to give umbrage to someone; to take umbrage at someone’s rudeness.

Still promoting his column

Since making the apology Prosser has been still promoting his column and what he wrote. He provided a link to the column in response to a tweet:

Jordan Williams ‏@JordNZ
Is the Richard Prosser article online anywhere? I’ve got to talk about this this arvo, so best I read it… #WebLazy
excerpt on Kiwiblog. Could also be on Briefing Room, if that site still exists.

And when someone commented on this Prosser promoted his column:

So now @Richard_Prosser is sending tweeters the link to his article… #nzpol #racism #islamophobia #Investigate

Hmm, wouldn’t it be terrible if people read the whole thing for themselves before commenting, instead of just snippets and blogs

Hmm, I don’t think it will change anything. And it leaves some questions unanswered.

The pocket knife

Prosser’s column is based on his pocket knife. He said he was very angry when it was confiscated at Christchurch Airport – this happened on December 3 last year.

Prosser said he had taken the knife with him on thirty previous flights as a commuting MP. And he has flown around the world with it, taken it into parliaments in the UK and Australia and “into our own debating chamber every day this past year”.

So he claims he has gone through numerous security checks around the world and in New Zealand, and was only pulled up on  carrying the knife in December in Christchurch. Everyone who flies knows what a nuisance security checks are, and how sensitive they can be at detecting minor things. I was taken aside and checked over at Athens Airport because of small metal rivets in my shoes.

How did Prosser get through so many checks with a pocket knife? That’s hard to comprehend.

Why would he carry a pocket knife when surely he would know it was not allowed on flights? And not needed.

Why would he carry a knife into Parliament? I’m sure I would not be allowed to do that.

Journalist versus MP

In the early excuses it was claimed that Prosser wrote the column as a journalist (he’d been writing the column for ten years) and not as an MP.

But in this column he specifically referred to being an MP and talked about what he had been doing as an MP. There was no attempt at separation.

Calls to resign

A number of people including party leaders and Islamic groups have called for Prosser to resign. A poll at Stuff currently:

Should MP Richard Prosser resign over his comments about Muslims?

  • Yes 3231 votes, 70.2%
  • No 1371 votes, 29.8%

Fellow MPs have apparently taken umbrage – Andrea Vance at Stuff reported:

NZ First MPs are privately seething at Richard Prosser’s call for Muslims to be banned from Western airlines.

But leader Winston Peters showed no sign of taking any action, in fact he has effectively supported Prosser’s spotlight seeking.

But this isn’t over.  It will have created much tension within the party. And f Peters and Prosser ride this out it will remain as major baggage for New Zealand First right up to the election next year.


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