Peters doubles down on ‘Nazi Germany’ comments, promises more today

Winston Peters delivering his State of the Nation speech at the weekend.
Winston Peters delivering his State of the Nation speech at the weekend.
Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is doubling down on his comments likening Te Pāti Māori statements to Nazi Germany - and is promising to say more on the subject later today.

That’s despite Prime Minister Christopher Luxon telling Peters - also the Foreign Minister - his comments were unhelpful and reinforced the importance of politicians refraining from using divisive language.

Speaking with media this morning following his meeting yesterday with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Peters was asked about his comments about the killing of a Sikh leader in Canada, which caused controversy after Indian media reported Peters - who has just returned from India - was casting doubt on claims from Canada that India was linked to the killing.

The reporting prompted Peters to speak with Canadian officials to assure them of his position that he would await the investigation into the killing before making a judgement.

He likened the matter to what he considered “the most deliberate misrepresentation” of comments he made during his State of the Nation address on Sunday in Palmerston North, where he was speaking as New Zealand First leader.

During his speech, Peters appeared to compare Labour’s use of co-governance to “race-based theory”, as seen in Nazi Germany.

He later clarified his “Nazi Germany” comments were referring specifically to comments made by Te Pāti Māori regarding Māori genes.

His comments drew warnings from the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand about the use of such terminology by politicians.

“It is actually offensive to the memory of those who died and to those who survived in the Holocaust to start throwing around terms like ‘Holocaust’ or ‘Nazi’ willy-nilly,” Holocaust Centre of New Zealand spokesman Ben Kepes said.

Peters this morning argued statements from Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi claiming Māori DNA was superior to others was something Peters had seen “in other countries”.

Peters then hit back against anyone who claimed he had referenced the Holocaust and promised to make further statements on the matter later today.

“I never mentioned the Holocaust, I never mentioned genocide and all that crap that these people are trying to fit me up with, and [I’m not] going to accept it.

“I’m going to kick back real hard, I think people are entitled to be reported properly.

“I’m not going to shy away from this appalling bias that says you can run this country on the basis that some are superior in breeding and DNA than others.”

At his post-Cabinet press conference yesterday, Luxon said he wouldn’t have used the same words as Peters and deemed them unhelpful.

Luxon cited comments from Labour leader Chris Hipkins calling his Government a “dictatorship” and Te Pāti Māori claiming the Government was run by white supremacists as examples of politicians using inflammatory language. He urged politicians to refrain from using such language.

Luxon yesterday said he would talk to Peters following his comments on Sunday.

Talking to media this morning, Luxon confirmed the pair spoke but would not detail their conversation, citing privacy.