Race row MP blocked from making statement

NZ First MP Richard Prosser's bid to make a personal statement in Parliament this afternoon about his inflammatory comments about Muslims was been blocked as calls for his resignation or sacking gathered pace.

Mr Prosser sought to make the statement after apologising "unreservedly" for the comments in which he suggested young Muslim men from "Wogistan" should be banned from flying on Western airlines.

Mr Prosser avoided Parliament yesterday as the controversy over the comments built but was in the debating chamber this afternoon where he sought permission to make a personal statement.

Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira objected, preventing Mr Prosser from making his statement.

Immediately afterwards the Green Party moved that Parliament affirmed "that all New Zealanders, regardless of their religious faith or ethnicity, should be treated equally before the law and that the rights and dignity of all people, in particular of Muslims should be upheld".

The motion was passed unanimously.

Just before entering the chamber this afternoon, Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said Mr Prosser should be sacked by New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters for the comments.

Prime Minister John Key said that given the comments were clearly premeditated, he doubted the sincerity of Mr Prosser's apology.

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman Phil Goff has also called on Mr Prosser to resign or be sacked.

President of the Federation of Islamist Associations of New Zealand Anwar Ghani said while the federation accepted Mr Prosser's apology and his future in politics was ultimately up to Mr Peters, the NZ First MP should leave Parliament.

- Adam Bennett of the New Zealand Herald

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