Execute Chinese drug dealers - Harawira

Mana leader Hone Harawira has called for capital punishment for Chinese people who import methamphetamine into New Zealand.

Appearing on The Nation on Saturday, the former MP said it's time to take the fight against meth seriously by targeting what he says is its source - China.

"We can pass a law to say any Chinese who bring meth or its precursors into this country is either going to jail forever, is going to get sent back and never be allowed here again, or is going to get executed," he told host Lisa Owen.

"We need to send a message this is unacceptable."

Asked if his execution policy extended to gangs, Mr Harawira said "even the police will admit the gangs don't actually do all the meth here".

He said the policy could eventually cover other nationalities, but "you've got to start somewhere".

He denied the policy was racist.

"You want to know what's racist? Maori are in the bottom of New Zealand society in terms of housing, employment, education, health and justice. Now that's what I call racist, in this country."

Labour MP Chris Hipkins wasted no time, slamming Mr Harawira on Twitter as the interview was still on air.

"Even Donald Trump at the height of his anti-China narrative didn't suggest an ethnically targeted death penalty," Mr Hipkins said.