Meet NZ First's first Chinese electorate candidate, Peter Chan

New Zealand First has nominated its first Chinese electoral candidate, who says he will provide advice to leader Winston Peters - who has had several high-profile scrapes with the Asian-New Zealand community over the years.

The candidate, Peter Chan, will stand in Auckland's New Lynn electorate. Mr Chan is a long-time local government member who helped found Auckland's wildly popular Lantern Festival, and the Waitākere Ethnic Board. He speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, some Japanese, English and can read Latin.

Mr Chan told Newshub he believes he is the first Chinese candidate to be nominated by the party to stand in an electorate.

He acknowledged Asian New Zealanders see the party as anti-Chinese, and its immigration policy was labelled "racist" by Metiria Turei in the weeks leading up to her resignation as Green co-leader. 

But if Mr Chan is to help mend NZ First's relations with the Asian community, there will be some work to do. 

Among the Winston Peters moments the party probably wishes could be forgotten:

Mr Peters' widely-condemned comment that "two Wongs don't make a white".

The time he called John Key "Mr Spray and Walk Away" - a reference to an advertisement featuring a caricatured Asian presenter.

When he said there are too many Asian restaurants on Dominion Rd, using the restaurants as proof of bad immigration laws.

It was perhaps with those moments in mind that the party approached Mr Chan - twice - asking him to stand. 

"They need someone like me [to] give the leader some advice as to what's going on with the ethnic community," Mr Chan told Newshub.

He said that while he hasn't given Mr Peters any advice yet, he has told the party it needs to send a clear message that it is not anti-Chinese and not anti-Asian.

"When you come to this country, you are part of this country. You are the citizens. We have to work in the interests of the nation. Infrastructure is suffering so much with too much immigration at one time."

He was particularly enthusiastic about Mr Peters.

"He's a great leader. Because he has been in politics for 40 years, he knows what it's about. He defends the poor, he tries to uplift the low and middle class. It's not all about money, it's about our future."

Mr Chan said an important issue being faced by too many Chinese migrants was that they were being exploited by employers.

"We are just trying to help them in the long term.

"We have to look after them well, because everybody is equal in New Zealand. This is good."

Mr Chan said more Asian New Zealanders would join the party if they had a better understanding of New Zealand First's policies.