Ron Mark unrepentant

NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark is unrepentant following widespread criticism of his speech in Parliament earlier this week – see Re Mark remarks – appalling in Parliament.

NZ Herald reports:  Mark stands by ‘go back to Korea’ jab:

During a debate on shop trading hours on Tuesday, Mr Mark accused Ms Lee of being condescending towards New Zealanders.

“I have got a short message: If you do not like New Zealand, go back to Korea,” he said.

In the same speech, the New Zealand First deputy leader also made disparaging comments about Indian-born MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi.

Mark has responded to criticism:

Yesterday, Mr Mark said he objected to being told to grow up.

“Some people who come here might think we’re a bit antiquated or … need to grow up.

Talking about growing up Mr Mark…

Winston Peters backed Mark…

…saying any claim of racism was “poppycock”. He echoed Mr Mark’s criticism of Ms Lee: “If someone is complaining about the country they’re in, they … can always go back home.”

Peters probably complains more than anyone in Parliament – perhaps he could follow his own advice and go back home.

However Mark’s remarks (and as he said something similar,Peters) were not backed by all of the NZ First MPs.

Most New Zealand First colleagues also backed Mr Mark. However, Tracey Martin, whom Mr Mark unseated as deputy leader, jumped on his gaffe, saying, “It is not a statement I would have made.”

Dissent in the ranks is usually not tolerated. Martin must be planning on quitting, otherwise she is likely to be pushed, as happened to other NZ First MPs last term – Brendan Horan was excommunicated during the term and Andrew Williams and Asenati Taylor who were pushed so far down the list last yer there was no chance of them returning.

Peters has got away with nasty attention seeking stunts for a long time because the media flock to give him coverage.

Mark is unlikely to get the same help from media. It;s unlikely he will improve NZ First support and may do the opposite.