05 November 2008

Prospective immigration minister could lose portfolio over remarks

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In New Zealand's heated general election campaign, National Party front bencher Lockwood Smith said that migrants from the Pacific Islands needed guidance on how to use showers and lavatories, whilst workers from Asia were better at some jobs because they had small hands. The remarks may cost Smith the Immigration portfolio, a cabinet position he was tipped to occupy if the National Party wins the election over the incumbent Labour party.

National Party leader John Key rebuked the comments from his senior MP stating "I think it's totally appropriate to apologise." 

Anger and disappointment at the remarks was almost universal from the other main parties vying for seats.  Current Prime Minister Helen Clarke described the statements as ridiculous, saying "It's not what you would expect of a senior MP. I don't think he engaged brain before mouth."

Even more alarming for the National Party came scorn from the Maroi Party.  Maori leader Tariana Turia dubbed the statements as racist, stating that it could affect the relationship between the Maori Party and the National Party in the future. The Maori party may hold a balance-of-power position if it wins enough seats, and was considering supporting a National Party-led coalition government.

New Zealand political analysis expect that the statements could cost Lockwood Smith a cabinet position and force an apology from the Nationals.


The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their New Zealand visa application.

Article by Editorial Staff, New Zealand Visa Bureau.

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