Winston Peters blames 'language Nazis' for bullying scandals

Bullying has consumed New Zealand politics recently, with Jami-Lee Ross and Maggie Barry both accused of bullying.

Parliament is launching an independent external review into bullying and harassment of staff, which will establish whether bullying or harassment has occurred, then investigate the extent of the behaviour.

However the man who ordered it, Speaker Trevor Mallard, has now been accused by former Work and Income NZ chief executive Christine Rankin being New Zealand's biggest bully himself.

But is it all a beat-up? RadioLIVE host Mark Sainsbury complains that "everything is bullying these days" and it seems like "bullying season".

Appearing on his show on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters says we need to wait for evidence before judging these cases.

"The reality is that we are upon a new PC age where half the zing, excitement and enjoyment of life is being gutted and sucked out of society by people who decide that they will be the language Nazis," he says.

"If you don't use their language or sentiments then they're going to personally attack you."

Earlier on Tuesday, Mr Peters appeared on The AM Show and admitted he can't be sure he hasn't been a bully in the past.

"I can't say that I am innocent either, but it comes down to whether it is bullying," he said.

Mr Peters said it was unfortunate that some people lost their jobs based on allegations that ended up baseless.

Mr Peters thinks the "language Nazis" are getting worse - and he's taking action to stop them.

"I'm doing something about it," he told Sainsbury.

"I'm on your show talking to all those common-sense people in your listenership to tell them they should be careful about these Nazis out there who want to control everything we do."

One case in particular involved a New Zealand woman in Australia who claimed she had been racially discriminated against by being called 'Kiwi'.

Mr Peters recalled his time in Australia when people had nicknames like "wops, wogs, Poms". Many people take offence to these terms.

"It's a freedom issue here. People need to be able to express themselves, and often a lot of the expressions are usually expressions of affection," he says.