'She opened herself up to that sort of response' - Peters

  • 06/11/2015
Winston Peters (AAP)
Winston Peters (AAP)

NZ First leader Winston Peters is backing his deputy Ron Mark over the MP's controversial "go back to Korea" comment.

All the other parties in Parliament, and Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, have denounced Mr Mark for telling National's Melissa Lee "if you don't like New Zealand, go back to Korea" during a debate on Tuesday night.

It's been described as racist, disgraceful and unacceptable.

But Mr Peters says the comment was justified and there's no reason why Mr Mark should apologise.

"She started it by talking about her Korean shopping experience ... she opened herself up to that sort of response," he said on Radio New Zealand on Friday.

Parliament was debating Easter trading laws when Ms Lee said that when she came to New Zealand 30 years ago she had been surprised by the early closing hours.

She suggested New Zealand should "grow up", which upset Mr Mark.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said Mr Mark's comments were inappropriate and offensive.