Election 2023: Labour, National Nelson candidates hit back at Winston Peters' 'ridiculous' Māori are 'not indigenous' claim 

Labour's Nelson candidate has hit back at Winston Peters' claim Māori are "not indigenous", dubbing it "ridiculous" and "inflammatory".

On Sunday, Peters visited sunny Nelson while on the campaign trail where he held a public meeting with his supporters. 

According to a report by Stuff, Peters told his supporters; "Here's the rub if you are Māori. We're not indigenous".

"We come from Hawi-ki. Where's our Hawi-iki? We think it is in the Cook Islands. We think it's in Rarotonga... but we're not from here. And we go back 5000 years, we came with our DNA from China. Not like 55,000 years in Australia."

When asked after the meeting if he thought his comments could upset some, Peters told Stuff what he said was "the truth".

"Excuse me, I am from that background... we know we're not indigenous, and we don't believe in bulldust."

On Monday, Nelson's Labour candidate Rachel Boyack and National candidate Blair Cameron joined AM's Ryan Bridge, where they were both asked about Peters' comments.

Boyack said she thought Peters' statement was "ridiculous".

"New Zealand has a Treaty of Waitangi agreement between Māori and the Crown that has existed for well over a century. We have a strong relationship with our indigenous Māori and New Zealand, that's an important part of who we are as a nation."

She told AM Peters' claim was "inflammatory" and designed to "try and get a little bit of coverage".

"I don't think he actually believes that himself. I think he was putting that forward to try and get a little bit of reaction, which he's doing today."

Bridge asked Cameron how he felt about the statement knowing Peters may end up in Government with National.

"Look, Māori are the indigenous people of New Zealand," he said, adding he didn't know "why we're talking about Winston Peters right now".

Boyack attempted to get more out of Cameron and whether National will rule New Zealand First in or out – but Cameron wouldn't be drawn on that. 

"I'm really not interested in talking about Winston Peters."

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