• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 1:56pm
NewsAsia
NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand MP Winston Peters accused of racism over Wong ‘joke’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 August, 2014, 11:12am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 August, 2014, 9:27am

A high-profile New Zealand lawmaker was accused of racism on Monday after making what he called a “joke” at the expense of Asians as he railed against Chinese investment in the country’s farming sector.

New Zealand First party leader Winston Peters told his campaign launch in Auckland on Sunday that he wanted to tighten restrictions on foreign ownership, telling the audience: “As they say in Beijing, two Wongs don’t make a white.”

Mr Peters may think it is funny to tell weak racist jokes but it is not funny to New Zealand’s Chinese community
ACT Deputy Leader Kenneth Wang

The comment was labelled “disappointing and shameful” by New Zealand’s Race Relations Commissioner Susan Devoy, while the ACT Party accused Peters of inciting hatred against Chinese ahead of a general election on September 20.

“Mr Peters may think it is funny to tell weak racist jokes but it is not funny to New Zealand’s Chinese community,” ACT Deputy Leader Kenneth Wang said.

“Every time Mr Peters stirs up anti-Chinese feeling he gives racists in the community encouragement to attack Chinese. I have reports of Chinese women being abused in the street (and) young louts going into Chinese shops to abuse shop keepers.”

Peters, a long-standing anti-immigration campaigner who in the past has warned about New Zealand becoming an “Asian colony”, said his critics were lacking a sense of humour and claimed he was originally told the joke by a Chinese man in Beijing.

“The reality is a Chinese guy thought it was a joke, he told me that and I thought it was funny, so did my colleagues,” he said.

“There’s nothing racist about it... what we don’t need is a few journalists who decide that they’re going to be the Nazi politically-correct police of this country.”

Peters served as deputy prime minister from 1996 to 1998 under the conservative National-led coalition government, and foreign minister from 2005 to 2008 under a coalition led by centre-left Labour Party.

Prime Minister John Key said the New Zealand First leader was being deliberately provocative in an attempt to gain attention ahead of the election.

“It’s like all of those stunts isn’t it, he’s doing that because he wants you to be outraged, because he wants to get you playing it on breakfast TV because he wants to get his message through,” he told TVNZ.

The line “two Wongs don’t make a white” was originally attributed to former Australian prime minister Arthur Calwell, a strong supporter of the “White Australia” immigration policy adopted by New Zealand’s neighbour, which lasted until the 1970s.

Devoy said people who made such comments in the 21st century “just don’t get it”.

“Politicians making fun of an entire race of people isn’t new but it’s disappointing and shameful New Zealand political leaders are still doing it in 2014,” she said.

“We’re better than this and our political leaders need to realise that.”

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31

This article is now closed to comments

caractacus
Let's look forward to a day when the Chinese are as sensitive about other races as they are about themselves.
markwhouston
"In the beginning when god made bread, the first loaf left the oven black and hard, and god said, this is a no good. The colour is too dark and the inner meat is too dry and hard. Then god made a second loaf, but when this loaf left the oven, god said, oh no, this loaf is too white and the meat is too moist and undercooked. Lastly, god made a third loaf, and god said, yes, this is the best loaf. The crust is yellow and the meat is just the right moisture and texture."
You see, the Chinese are as racist as everyone else. The difference in the case of New Zealand and Winston Peters, is that as a coloured man, he really does have a right to make a joke about race and culture, especially in this case, because it is true, that China should not have the right to buy farm land in New Zealand, since a New Zealander does not have the right to buy farm land in China.
I'm part white (Irish/Scotish) and part black (Assam/Indian). Does this make me a racist, if I make a joke about the Chinese, if after living in Hong Kong, for 50 yrs, I'm still called a Gwei Lo ?
michaelhctam@gmail.com
go home Chaz, you're a shesiter.
gunzy
Such outrage over such an OLD OLD OLD insult....
.
When did we become such wimps to become hot and bothered over such a bland insult?
.
And secondly, couldn't the guy come up with something newer and more relevant?
giggsy72
China agressively chased and sunk a Vietnamese fishing vessel near the Paracel Islands.
.
We're playing the "random comments about other countries that have no relation to the above news article" game, aren't we???
michaelhctam@gmail.com
The whole world will be Chinese eventually. There's 1.3 billion of us. Someone will get humped by us eventually.
TigerJ
Australia claims to be part of "Asia Pac", but doesn't want Asians... Go figure.
xgambit
I think we are taking this comment too seriously. If you see the comment as racist then it's racist. If you see it as a joke then it's a joke. It's all in your mind and your perception. Two Wongs do not make a white is correct. Neither will two white make a Wong. It's all much ado about nothing !!'
jaswinderpalsngh@yahoo.com
"You" took their land and now the tide's turned. It won't be long when greedy **** sells off the entire land "they" occupied by tricking Maoris.
michaelhctam@gmail.com
he doesn't even look fully white to me. must be self conscious of his racial identity or something. Weirdo.

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