Standfirst: National List MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar has written to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern labelling New Zealand First List MP Shane Jones’s outburst against the Indian Community last month as ‘incendiary’ and as hate speech.
Wellington, November 3, 2019
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Dear Prime Minister,
Re: Comments of the Hon Shane Jones to members of Indian community disgruntled with
immigration policy changes
As an immigrant and a New Zealand citizen I was appalled at the comments made by senior Cabinet Minister, the Hon Shane Jones.
While he is not a member of your Party, he is a senior member of the Coalition government which you lead.
Under the Human Rights Act the New Zealand Parliament prohibited hate speech – Section 61 (Racial Disharmony) makes it unlawful to publish material which is, ‘threatening, abusive or insulting,’ and ‘likely to excite hostility’ against a group of people or bring them into contempt on the ground of their colour, race or ethnicity.
Mr Jones’ comments certainly met the criteria when he said to the Indian community that the members of the community disgruntled with immigration policy changes get on the first plane if you are not happy.
While it’s always the prerogative of the government of the day to decide immigration policy it appears that Mr Jones’ incendiary comments were designed to achieve a political
positioning rather than contribute to a sober defence of government policy.
Senior members of a government have a responsibility to lead and stand up against inflammatory rhetoric particularly that are directed to stigmatise and attack one section of our society.
While Mr Jones is known for his somewhat “flourishing style” of speaking, he will be totally aware that his comments were designed to get headlines and reportage right across the media.
He has achieved this by insulting Indian people, a significant group within New Zealand society.
I speculate, had Mr Jones been a current Labour MP whether his behaviour would have been admonished by yourself.
Given he is a member of your Coalition government gives him a “free pass” to say whatever that he thinks he needs to say to satisfy his “political base.”
As a New Zealander and a Member of Parliament who happens to be of Indian descent, I am appalled that Mr Jones’ outburst has not been condemned in any shape or form by you as the Leader of the Coalition government.
I fear that this type of behaviour provides a licence to some New Zealanders to perpetrate this type of unsavoury outburst which I consider is plain hate speech.