Following Shane Jones’ rant about the Indian community “ruining” the country’s academic institutions, New Zealand’s Indian community is inviting him to visit to share his reasons why.
NZ First MP Mr Jones was interviewed by MediaWorks earlier this month around immigration, where he said: “We should debate it and there should be a mandate, rather than opening up the options, unfettered, and everyone comes here from New Delhi.”
When questioned on the “New Delhi” comment, Mr Jones said, “I think that the number of students that have come from India have ruined many of those institutions, I think it’s a backdoor to citizenship”.
His comments, which have been called out as “racist” by the Race Relations Commissioner, also come after last year he dismissed criticism from the Indian community about his incendiary views as “a Bollywood overreaction”.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has since said she disagreed with the comments and urged voters to “act on their values when it comes to election time”.
This morning, Indian Newslink editor Venkat Raman told TVNZ 1’s Breakfast if Mr Jones has a point, the Indian community wants it raised with them and to be backed up with facts.
“The community is ready to talk to him, if there are any ailments we should jointly address them.”
However, Mr Raman said Mr Jones’ comments were “gutter language”, “totally unnacceptable”and “unbecoming of a minister”.
“Shane Jones made a comment that Indian students have ruined education institutions, now where is the proof of that? He being a minister has all the power that he has to institute an inquiry into what these institutions are and how students can spoil an institution. I thought institutions were run by people and then they take students.
I think Shane Jones has to understand that as a minister and as a politician he is expected of a certain level of dignity, a certain level of honour and he can’t speak whatever he feels like.
“I want to quote his own leader who says ‘put up or shut up’. So Shane Jones hasn’t put up anything so it’s time for him to shut up.”
Mr Raman said White New Zealand Policy was repeating itself again through Mr Jones 100 years on.
“Indians have been here for a little more than 110 years in New Zealand so they are as New Zealanders as anyone else.”
The Indian Association is celebrating 100 years on September 12, and invites Mr Jones to “let him understand what the Indian community is, what are the contributions”, Mr Raman said, adding that Indians had participated in two World Wars since they came to New Zealand.
“They’re a much a part of New Zealand as Shane Jones is.”