Politicians from different parties all disagree with John Minto’s view on flag burning

A man videoed burning a Tongan flag after the Rugby League World Cup match against the Kiwis has issued a public apology labelling it a “drunken mistake”.

[…] “I apologise for the way this has offended everyone especially the people of Tonga, and there is no excuse for the actions that I have taken.

“I was unaware that this moment had been recorded and had no ill intentions, following this I have since tried to have this removed off the pages that it has been posted on, and hope this public apology will help with doing so.”

Pacific Peoples Associate Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the flag-burning was highly offensive.

“Burning a nation’s flag is never acceptable. It’s disrespectful.

-NZ Herald

** News article quoted from 2014

Activist John Minto at a protest in Auckland 2014 screenshot Whaleoil

Mana activist John Minto is defending the defacing of Israeli flags at an anti-Israel march in Auckland, saying it was an appropriate form of protest […]

Right-wing blog Whale Oil has posted images showing protesters, including Mana members, burning a US and an Israeli flag as well as one of an Israeli flag with a Nazi swastika imposed upon it.

These actions have been condemned by Labour, NZ First and the Greens.

Minto said he was not aware of the burning, but did not believe it was inappropriate.

“I can’t see what the problem is,” Minto said. “Flags have been burnt in demonstrations and protests for hundreds of years so it’s no big deal.”

[…] NZ First leader Winston Peters slammed the burning, saying “we’re not going to tolerate from a NZ First point of view, them bringing their problems here and fighting them out on the streets”.

“NZ First for 21 years has always maintained that when people come here we expect them to abide by our law salute our flag … and to abide by peaceful behaviour in our society.

“We do not want people to import their problems from far-off lands into this country and cause any disruption and disharmony in the streets of New Zealand.”

Of the swastika, he said, it was “just outright provocation and there will be a reaction if that’s allowed to happen”.

“Don’t come from a hell hole and bring it to this country and think we’re going to tolerate it.”

Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer said that while he understood the sentiment, defacing the flags was inappropriate.

“I completely condemn what they’ve done. I completely understand why they want to march but let’s march in a way that respects everybody but at the same time makes the point,” Shearer said.

“I think what we have in New Zealand is a society where we all actually get on very well irrespective of what culture and what ethnicity we come from.

“We should not want to see this sort of thing that I don’t think does us any good and it takes it to a new level in New Zealand which I don’t think is appropriate.”

Green Party foreign affairs spokesman Kennedy Graham said he was at the protest and saw the swastika, but not the burning.

“Obviously, it’s not appropriate nor is having a swastika on an Israeli flag appropriate,” Graham said.

Graham, of course, is one of the two Green MPs who resigned because of Metiria Turea’s actions and who when she finally resigned tried to rejoin the party but had his bid rejected.

“I did see that, that is hugely inappropriate and should not be at that kind of rally.”






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