Sunday, July 30, 2006

A New Zealand politician plays race card

A prominent New Zealand politician was accused of racism on Saturday after a speech in which he said immigrants who did not accept the country's "bedrock values" should not be allowed to stay.

The leader of the conservative opposition National Party, defined the values as "an acceptance of democracy and the rule of law, religious and personal freedom and legal equality of the sexes".

Diversity in society was fine, but there could be too much of a good thing, he said told an immigration consultants' conference on Friday, likening it to drinking red wine.

The shadow prime minister refused to specify who he was referring to and the country's Race Relations Commissioner passed it on saying he would leave the debate up to the public.

It is unhelpful for racial harmony when a politician makes a statement with negative racial undertones.

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