NZ First leader Winston Peters says a move to set up a new ethnicity-based political party for Asian and Indian immigrants is a “an extraordinary demand” which will harm New Zealand.
The People’s Party has been set up and acting leader Rohan Nauhria told RNZ it would campaign on issues such as crime and was aiming to get into Parliament by focusing on the Indian and other Asian communities.
The announcement of the People’s Party got a frosty reception from NZ First leader Winston Peters who said race-based parties were bad news.
“No country is going to progress if we have political parties spending time accentuating their differences. For people to come into New Zealand and say we’re going to start an ethnic-based party is an extraordinary demand to make.”
Prime Minister John Key said he was not surprised the party had emerged given the recent focus on migration.
“It’s not just Winston Peters with an anti-migrant message, it’s also been people like Labour. So you’re always going to get people wanting to make sure their voice is heard the other way.”
Key doubted it would get into Parliament, based on the history of similar one-issue parties and its lack of a well-known leader.
He said it was important for ethnic communities to be represented, but they were better served by the major parties selecting candidates from those communities rather than forming their own party. “I think that’s a far more effective and likely to be successful.”
Peters said ethnic groups were already well represented in Parliament and there was no need for a separate party.
There is no place in NZ politics for race based party. We already have our quota.
But more importantly, it is a total waste of time and energy. Much better to get a major party interested in your needs. Getting 0.2% of the vote after spending hundreds of thousands of dollars will get you nowhere.
– NZ Herald