28 Mar 2012

Finnish comedian accepts Brownlee tried to be funny

8:48 am on 28 March 2012

Finnish comedian says he accepts New Zealand Government minister Gerry Brownlee was trying to be funny when he made disparaging remarks about Finland last week.

In the general debate last Wednesday, the senior Cabinet minister began by attacking the Labour Party's admiration for Finland, but his monologue ended with him attacking Finland itself.

Mr Brownlee, who holds several posts including Leader of the House, said Finland had higher unemployment, lower growth and worse crime than New Zealand. He added that Finland can hardly feed its people and has little respect for women.

At a nuclear summit in Seoul, Prime Minister John Key apologised and explained the nuances of New Zealand politics to Finland's Prime Minister.

Comedian Tuomas Enbuske launched his own parody of the situation, comparing the achievements of both countries, with New Zealand's limited to its production of sheep.

Mr Enbuske told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Wednesday he accepts Mr Brownlee's comments were made in jest - but it is not always easy to interpret when politicians are using humour.

Gerry Brownlee on Tuesday apologised for any offence caused, saying his remarks were meant to be humorous.