18 Mar 2024

Winston Peters 'not going back' on co-governance Nazi reference

8:59 am on 18 March 2024
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is doubling down on his comparison of co-governance with Nazi Germany's race-based theories.

"I'm not backing down one iota," Peters told Morning Report on Monday.

His comments followed a hard-hitting State of the Nation speech in Palmerston North on Sunday in which he claimed the Labour government had allowed race-based theories to emerge, based on Māori DNA making them "somehow better than others".

"I've seen that sort of philosophy before. I saw it in Nazi Germany. We all did. We've seen it elsewhere around the world in the horrors of history.

"But here right in our country and tolerated, by people whose job was to keep the system honest, this happened."

The claims were criticised by Labour leader Chris Hipkins, who said Peters was using racism to divide the country.

The son of Jewish migrants to New Zealand also said he was outraged by Peters' comments.

Aucklander John Hubscher said his grandparents on both sides of his family were murdered during the Holocaust and Peters' remarks were outrageous and hurtful.

On Monday, Peters hit back, referring to an alleged statement by Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi that Māori DNA was superior which Peters found "offensive".

He accused RNZ of trying to "stick me up" by seeking comment from a Jewish spokesperson over co-governance being similar to Nazi Germany's race-based theories.

"I'm sorry it won't work; I'm not going back on my statements. The moment you argue that someone has got superior DNA to someone else you're leading to awful racial consequences."

He wanted to call Waititi out, he said.

"I'm not backing down one iota. I want everybody in this country no matter whether they're here for 1000 years or here yesterday legally to be treated the same - equally as one people."

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