Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has slammed NZ First MP Shane Jones' "racist rant" where he claimed Indian students had "ruined" New Zealand academic institutions..
Jones made the comments on Newshub Nation on Saturday morning, saying he's "astounded how quickly the last million people arrived in New Zealand".
"If you want another million, 2 million, 3 million people, we should debate it and there should be a mandate, rather than opening up the options, unfettered, and everyone comes here from New Delhi," he said, arguing that New Zealand needs some kind of maximum population policy.
"I think the number of students that have come from India have ruined many of those institutions."
Ardern says Jones' comments were "wrong" and she wants him to be answerable for his own opinions.
"When I see Minister Jones next I intend to [bring it up]," she says. "But I will very happily put on record my position… that on many occasions I have witnessed Minister Jones be both loose with his language and also be wrong, and on this occasion he was both."
She says she "absolutely" disagrees with his comments, but also realises that since he is in another party, it will "obviously" be the case that their opinions will differ from time to time.
"He needs to be answerable for his own opinions in that regard, and they are his own opinions and I'm very clear on that - they're not the opinion of the Government."
Jones' comments also drew criticism from Migrant Workers' Association, who says his opinions are "totally unacceptable".
"Saying that international students from New Delhi, India have an adverse effect on the colleges, factually is an incorrect statement," the association's president Anu Kaloti told Newshub.
"Factually Mr Shane Jones is incorrect, he needs to research his facts."
She says there are a lot of Indian students who have settled in New Zealand.
"There are people who have come in through the international student route and they worked their way up.
"There are a different group of people are working towards residence. They are possibly on some sort of work visa here.
"My point is, they are all hard-working people who contribute to this country, financially in a huge way."
She says political parties need to condemn the "racist rant and slur".