Andrea Vance writes:
Later, Mark – and some of his colleagues – were befuddled by the outrage. “It’s not racist – grow up,” he blustered.
Yes, Ron Mark, it is. It’s deplorable that as a Member of Parliament you need this explained to you. Every other party in Parliament – bar your own – understands this and have condemned your behaviour.
It is racist, because Lee was offended. It is racist because it implies that you are more “Kiwi” than Lee, who has made New Zealand her home for 30 years. …
It’s racist enough to get you arrested. In April, an Upper Hutt man was arrested for ordering tourists on a bus to “go back to your own country”. The ugly scene was filmed and uploaded to You Tube.
Dozens of similar racist rants – usually on public transport – have been shared across the world. Usually they end in a court appearance.
Mark’s words are even more shocking than those viral videos because they came not from an ignorant lout on a bus, but from the mouth of an MP – to another MP – during a parliamentary debate.
Ron Mark would do well to apologise, rather than insist he said nothing wrong.
The most charitable we can be about Mark is to liken him to the embarrassing docile old uncle who knows no better. But that excuses him. And it’s more likely Mark’s behaviour was calculated.
He was working from the Winston Peters’ playbook, and is now revelling in the attention he’s receiving from the redneck constituency.
Peters was duly out, belligerently defending his MP this morning. But the politics are indefensible precisely because they aren’t politics.
Politics is raising general concerns about immigration. NZ First has gone well beyond that to targeting and stigmatising individuals and national (usually Asian) groups.
It’s time to be honest about that strategy and call out NZ First for exactly what it is: a racist party.
Sadly true – but not all of them. Tracey Martin had the guts to say it was wrong.