17 Mar 2011

Turia labels tikanga remark racist

6:46 am on 17 March 2011

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says a remark by an ACT MP about tikanga is racist.

During the debate on the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, ACT's Hilary Calvert told Parliament that tikanga was an "Alice in Wonderland" word.

Tariana Turia says she is not surprised by the comments as she has come to expect ignorant attitudes and behaviour from the ACT Party.

She says when somebody denigrates another culture, it can only be defined as racist.

Hilary Calvert says she could have put it more elegantly, but her remark was not intended to be racist.

She says she did not mean to cause any offence, but there needs to be a clear definition of some of the words in the bill so that courts can interpret them fairly.