Chris Hipkins says 'Winston not fit for Govt' as Peters claims Christopher Luxon 'misinformed' on Nazi comments

  • 20/03/2024

Chris Hipkins is calling Winston Peters out, saying he is unfit for government and negatively portraying New Zealand to the world with his Nazi Germany comments.

The NZ First leader and Deputy PM made international headlines after comparing Labour's approach to co-governance to Nazi Germany.

He later claimed the Nazi Germany comment was in reference to Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi saying Māori have superior DNA. He attacked media in a lengthy statement on Tuesday for saying the comment was in relation to co-governance, despite saying "yes" when a reporter asked if it was appropriate to compare co-governance to Nazi Germany.

Peters made the comments during his State of the Nation address on Sunday, saying New Zealand went downhill after he was voted out of parliament in 2020.

"Without the handbrake, Labour cared more about feelings and ideology than the duty to competently govern our country. New Zealand's debt ballooned. There were multiple fiscal policies with no allocated funding - even lunches in schools is in that category - and the insidious creep of racist co-governance that has spread through legislation and the public sector everywhere, all the way to the real estate licencing provisions.

"Everywhere, manipulated. No manifesto coverage, no campaign, just under-the-radar dirt of this type - and what were the media saying about it? Deafening zero. And ladies and gentlemen we're never going to make it out of this demise if we tolerate that sort of behaviour, over and over again.

"Well, when you have the audacity to say 'there's something dramatically wrong here' - not just about the policy but about the lack of warning - they shout 'racist'. Not just ideological theory, it was race-based theory, where some people's DNA made them, sadly - according to these people and condoned by their cultural fellow travellers - their DNA made them somehow better than others.

"I've seen that sort of philosophy before. I saw it in Nazi Germany. We all did. We've seen it elsewhere around the world in the horrors of history."

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said he had had a conversation with Peters and called on "all political leaders of all political parties to watch the language".

However, Peters now claims Luxon's understanding of the situation was "misinformed" by the media.

"[Luxon] said to me, 'I was told this, this, and this,' and I said to him, 'By who? Did you hear my speech?' No," Peters told TVNZ's Breakfast on Wednesday morning.

"And then I realised, like most New Zealanders, all the way at the top, he's been misinformed by you media people, who think that your shill leftie biased message is going to triumph."

Appearing on AM on Wednesday, Hipkins said "Winston Peters is not fit for Government."

"This is classic Winston Peters where he says something really offensive, he then doubles down on that really offensive thing, then he tries to say 'oh that actually wasn't what I said, I said something else that was also quite offensive but less offensive than the first thing'."

Hipkins said Luxon needs to make it clear these remarks are unacceptable.

He said Peters' comments are making news around the world and is "not the kind of characterisation of New Zealand that we want to see internationally".

Hipkins was then asked whether the leadership of Nazi Germany was a dictatorship, referring to his comments last week that accused the Coalition of acting like a dictatorship.

"Let's be clear, I know what you are getting to here, it's not been uncommon for opposition MPs to say that the government has been behaving in a dictatorial fashion, as I did last week. I think there is a world of difference between that and likening government policy to Nazi Germany," Hipkins said.

He then doubled down.

"I think the Government were behaving in a dictatorial manner in the way that they have been pushing law changes through without references to anybody and without any proper democratic process around that, particularly areas where they did not campaign on."