National Party MP Hamish Walker should apologise for racist comments

National Party MP Hamish Walker should apologise for racist comments

Todd Muller seemed to dismiss the issue and asks, “All good, isn’t it a lovely day?’

Venkat Raman
Wellington, July 3, 2020

Hamish Walker and Dr Megan Woods (RNZ Photo by Rebekah Parsons-King)

About four months ago, New Zealand First MP Shane Jones caused ire among the members of the Indian community when asked ‘those who do not agree with the country’s rules and regulations to go back to India.’

He did not mean New Zealand citizens and permanent residents but almost no one was willing to listen. We, including this Reporter too him to task, asked him to apologise and many National MPs asked Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to sack him.

Now, a National MP does something worse, and no one seems to bother.

Community leaders silent

I have not seen a single criticism from leaders of the Indian community over what Hamish Walker said in a press statement today.

The Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker said that about 11,000 people were arriving from overseas and were possibly heading to quarantine facilities in the South Island.

“These people are possibly heeding for Dunedin, Invercargill and Queenstown from India, Pakistan and Korea. It is absolutely disgraceful that the community has not been consulted on this,” he said.

It is very wrong and reprehensible for Mr Walker to utter such despicable remarks and walk away free. National has two MPs of Indian origin and one of Korean origin and they do not seem to have raised any objection to the irresponsible statement from their colleague.

National Leader Todd Muller seemed to dismiss the ‘Walker episode’ as something trivial.

I have spoken to Hamish. Expressed my disappointment and don’t condone what he said.

A moment later, Mr Muller said, “All good, Any other questions? Isn’t it a lovely day?”

Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods, who recently took charge of Isolation and Quarantine facilities is due to visit Queenstown and Dunedin along with Air Commodore Digby Webb next week and discuss with the concerned about possible quarantine facility.

Dr Woods described Mr Walker’s comments as ‘disgraceful and reprehensible.’

“They are also misleading, scaremongering and frankly, being racist,” she said.

Misleading and scaremongering

During a separate media briefing Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that those returning are New Zealand citizens and permanent residents who have the right to be in the country.

Mr Walker said that he had received many calls, texts and emails from residents who did want people to be held in quarantine in Queenstown.

He has shown that he is an irresponsible Member of Parliament.

Instead of making hasty and harsh statements, it was incumbent on him to have engaged with the government, expressed the concerns which he claims people had carried to him and looked for the way to progress.

He also has the duty to inform his constituents of the right of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents to return home.

Mr Muller, MPs of Indian and Korean origin in the National Party, other MPs and supporters of the Parties have clearly failed in their duty to discipline a rattling man.

Former Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin

Bigoted behaviour

Former Race Relations Conciliator Gregory Fortuin said that best that (Leader Todd) Muller could do was to express concern instead of calling it out for what it is.

“Just like Trump banning people from Muslim countries, it is time that we strongly call out this bigoted behaviour when we have Kiwis returning from all quarters of the world. Hamish Walker would fit in well in the racist deep South of America,” he said.

And where are our community leaders?  

Indian High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi should take exception to the comments of Mr Walker and lodge a protest with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

Mr Walker must apologise to the people of India, Pakistan and Korea.

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