Hooton: Labour’s immigration stance too little too late to stop Winston

Matthew Hooton thinks Winston Peters has won the immigration debate…at last.

When there’s an Islamist attack in the UK, does the ghost of Enoch Powell smugly snort “I told you so”?

There have not quite been “rivers of blood” in the UK and Europe but terrorist attacks in London, Manchester and Paris by the Islamist offspring of migrants mean that neither was Mr Powell entirely wrong about the risks of large-scale immigration, the issue with which his name will forever be associated.

In New Zealand, the same issue is owned by Winston Peters. It was the NZ First leader who first warned about the impact of Asian immigration in 1996, and while his famous line about “rows of ostentatious houses” did not have quite the poetic power of “rivers of blood,” it did the same job.

For his efforts, Mr Peters was compared by then prime minister Jim Bolger to Adolf Hitler.

Today, when Mr Peters receives the latest valuation of his St Mary’s Bay mansion or is late for dinner because of Auckland’s now utterly intolerable gridlock, does he too have at least a small sense of satisfaction at having had a point?

Perhaps but what he could never have expected is that 21 years later even the usually politically correct Labour and Green parties would implicitly support what he then had to say.

By clamping down on immigration Labour have unwittingly proved Winston right.

Labour’s new anti-immigrant stance leaves Act as the last party still largely comfortable with the status quo and has worried the mainly Wellington-based pro-immigration liberal elite that it will prompt Mr Peters into a more extreme position.

Their fears may be misplaced. Mr Little’s announcement was more a defensive play to prevent more Labour voters from drifting to NZ First. Mr Peters so totally owns the immigration issue that he is unlikely to worry much about Mr Little or anyone else mimicking him. To the contrary, he welcomes the implicit endorsement as simply making his view more mainstream. Anyone for whom reducing immigration is their number one issue knows that Mr Peters is the real thing.

There is no doubt that Mr Peters will repeat his anti-immigration stance on the campaign trail but politically he has already won that debate. That means his objective over the next three months is to find new issues on which to build his vote beyond his now-secure 10% base. Remember he wants to be prime minister, and he needs to again nearly double his vote to do it. Ports of Auckland should be very afraid.

Labour’s credentials on immigration are dreadful as any long term Christian resident of Hillsborough, Mt Roskill, Sandringham and Blockhouse Bay will attest to.

They opened the flood gates, National keep them open and here we are today, very concerned about the impact of incompatible migrants lauding it over us about how we must change our way of life to accommodate their personal, religious and cultural proclivities.

Labour can’t lecture us on this, this is Winston’s own ground and he has long been saying that if you want to live in NZ then live by our values…or piss off.

I suspect that will be his call in coming weeks.




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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.