National MPs have turned on one of their own leaving Paul Goldsmith out on a limb after he claimed that colonisation was "on balance" a good thing for Māori.
Government ministers have labelled him ignorant and said he's a living example of why New Zealand history must be taught in our schools.
In an interview with Newshub Nation, Goldsmith - a former historian - doubled down on the view he shared at the time of Tuia 250 commemorations that the good of colonisation outweighed the bad.
"I think on balance it has been, yes," he told Newshub Nation.
Professor Margaret Mutu, a University of Auckland Professor of Māori studies, disagrees.
She says colonisation caused "murder, theft, rape, pillage and just about every means of destruction that you can think of".
On Tuesday, Goldsmith was smacked down by his boss Judith Collins.
"I don't know that many Māori would think that."
Goldsmith played a leading role in the greatest whakapapa confusion in political memory, when former deputy leader Nikki Kaye said he was "obviously of Ngati Porou".
Goldsmith had to clarify he's "not Māori myself".
He's standing by his remarks.
"When we stand back and look at New Zealand and what we've created, which is the result of colonisation, I think on balance, New Zealand is a good thing," he said on Tuesday.
Goldsmith is out on his own with his colleagues turning on him.
"I have a different view to Paul," said former National leader Todd Muller.
"No, it wasn't good for Māori," said National MP Christopher Luxon, adding that "there's no doubt about it - colonisation was not good for Māori".
"I think it was a deeply traumatic and scarring time for the tangata whenua of this country," said National MP Chris Bishop.
The Government is ridiculing Goldsmith.
"Paora Ngati Porou Goldsmith," Labour Party deputy leader Kelvin Davis joked. "He's totally wrong and he's a living, breathing example of why we need to teach history in New Zealand schools."
Labour's Peeni Henare described Goldsmith's comments as "pretty ignorant".
"Too many people think actually that it was good for us. It's just a load of nonsense," added Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson.
The Māori Party is tired of it.
"I think it's really sad that this party is resorting to this pale, stale type of politicking," said co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer.
The facts are not kind to Goldsmith either.
"There is no way in the world you can interpret the statistics, the facts, the Waitangi Tribunal's reports as colonisation was good for Māori," says Prof Mutu.
There's never a good time to be divisive, but the timing couldn't be worse for National which has been accused of race-baiting and dog-whistling for the last month over Māori rights.
And just as the party simmered down on that rhetoric, Goldsmith boiled it over again.