14 Nov 2012

Copeland a 'nutter' for comments: Dunne

7:01 pm on 14 November 2012

A former MP has offended some members of a Parliamentary select committee by making an analogy between apartheid in South Africa and gay marriage.

The Government Administration Select Committee is hearing submissions on a bill that would extend the right to marry to all couples.

Former United Future MP Gordon Copeland said marriage was precious and New Zealand's most important institution.

He told the committee the concept of gay marriage reminded him of a time under apartheid when the South African Government invited Maori All Blacks to visit the country as honorary whites.

He said similarly, it was unreasonable to call gay marriage, marriage.

Committee chair Ruth Dyson (Labour) urged Mr Copeland to take some time to think about how his remarks would make some people feel.

United Future leader Peter Dunne distanced himself, and his party, from Mr Copeland's remarks - saying he is a nutter and now a member of the Conservative Party.

He says the comments show Mr Copeland is out on a limb. "He's been a member of the Conservative Party since its formation and I guess the views he's expressing are much more reflective of theirs, so they're welcome to him."