Winston Peters vexes me. He has a long list of worthy achievements, including free doctor visits for under sixes and crippling the last National government when it tried to sell Wellington Airport. He has also fought for ordinary kiwis against corporate might and those who would flog our assets to foreign owners.
Unfortunately, mixed with economic nationalism is anti-immigrant prejudice. On Breakfast this morning he argued the mid-air stabbing of two pilots by a mentally unstable woman was the fault of our refugee policy because she happened to be Somali, and we should re-examine whether we want Somalis refugees here.
1) There are many people who are mentally unstable and believe that society or the government is out to get them (many voice themselves here). This woman happened to be a traumatised Somali refugee; it could as easily have been a Paheka man who lost his job or a Maori woman whose business went bust.
2) As a prosperous country we have accepted a moral and legal duty to provide a home to 750 UNHCR refugees a year. We cannot pick and choose of the refugees we take for their ethnicity or mental state or skills. Some refugees will be traumatised and unstable. It is our human duty to help them.
Peters shames himself by using these events to appeal to xenophobia.
(over at blogblog they report that Paul Henry, who lost the then safe National seat of Wairarapa to Georgina Beyer in 1999, was just as bad later in the show when he interviewed the PM.)