Winston Peters 'not going to shy away' as he doubles down on 'Nazi Germany' remarks

  • 19/03/2024

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters continues to stand by his comments comparing New Zealand race relations to Nazi Germany. 

Peters made the comments during his state of the nation address on Sunday, saying: "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. But here right in our country and tolerated by people whose job it was to keep the system honest." 

Speaking on Tuesday, Peters doubled down and slammed people claiming he mentioned the Holocaust in his speech.  

"I never mentioned the Holocaust, I never mentioned genocide and all that crap that these people are trying to fit me up with, and [I'm not] going to accept it," he said, as reported by the NZ Herald.

"I'm not going to shy away from this appalling bias that says you can run this country on the basis that some are superior in breeding and DNA than others." 

Later on Tuesday, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon reiterated Peters' original comments weren't remarks he'd personally make. 

"We had a conversation yesterday afternoon," he said of his 2IC. "As I've been saying, I call on all political leaders of all political parties to watch the language - because the rhetoric is damaging and it's unhelpful and it causes division. It doesn't drive civility in our politics." 

Luxon added he hadn't seen the remarks Peters made on Tuesday. 

Peters on Monday, the day after his speech, clarified he was referring to comments made by Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi last year.  

Te Pāti Māori's sports policy in 2022 stated: "It's a known fact that Māori genetic makeup is stronger than others." Waititi was questioned by TVNZ in 2023 about whether such a statement was racist, to which he disagreed, saying "it's stronger in me, and I've got a whole lot of genetics in me". 

"The moment you say that, unchallenged by the mainstream media, unchecked - nobody said a thing about it - you're heading down the pathway of separatism, apartheid and all the ugly business or racism and exclusivity," Peters told AM. 

Asked what that had to do with the former Labour Government, Peters claimed that was "the pathway they went" with co-governance. 

"It's an ugly face of modern, radical Māori elitism and the mass majority of Māori hate this, they know it's not them - and all I'm saying is we need a reality check here," he said. 

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said Peters' comments showed Luxon had "no control over his own Government". 

"This is exactly the reason that I ruled out working with Winston Peters; he is uncontrollable," Hipkins told reporters. 

"Ultimately, though, the responsibility for that rests with Christopher Luxon - he is the Prime Minister and this is his deputy Prime Minister and his Minister of Foreign Affairs making incredibly inflammatory comments. 

"This reflects on New Zealand as a country - I think that Prime Ministers should do more than just brush it off."