Andrew Little takes dig at foreign chefs


There are too many foreign chefs in the kitchen.

That's what Labour Leader Andrew Little has said this afternoon, taking aim at "ethnic" restaurants hiring overseas workers instead of hiring New Zealanders.

"Let's just turn the tap down a bit. Let's just moderate the flow then when things are sorted out then let's open the gates again," he said.

Some are saying he's taken a leaf out of Winston Peter's playbook - and the Prime Minister is chiding him for making yet another xenophobic call.

"I just don't know where he's coming up with this stuff. I mean one minute they said they didn't want people with Chinese-sounding names buying houses, now they don't want people with Chinese-sounding names making chicken chop suey," he said.

Mr Little isn't actually targeting Chinese this time though -- he says there's a special clause in the China Free Trade Agreement that allows a certain number of chef's to work in New Zealand so we can't stop that -- it's other immigrants he's concerned about.

"There are chefs of a variety of ethnicities that already live in New Zealand and they should be able to be sourced locally."

Mr Little has since released a statement attempting to clarify his comments.

He says he simply hopes that when it comes to ethnic communities, more chefs would be able to be recruited within New Zealand, and that he never wanted to cause offence or to make anyone feel targeted.

However, he isn't denying the remarks.

"To be clear, Labour's policy on immigration hasn't changed," Mr Little says.

"We need to moderate our intake at times when we are struggling to find jobs and houses for newly arrived folks as well as locals.

"I will always support a progressive immigration policy and welcome all people who want to make a future for themselves and their families to be part of our beautiful country."


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