Editorial: Prosser makes name for himself

WARWICK RASMUSSEN DEPUTY EDITOR
Last updated 12:00 14/02/2013

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OPINION: There's no better way for a low-profile backbench MP to get some name recognition than to say something utterly preposterous.

That is a surefire way to guarantee you will skyrocket from being a nobody, to a name people just wish they could forget.

Enter Richard Prosser.

The New Zealand First list MP made possibly the most ill-informed, misguided attempt at making a point that any New Zealand MP has made in recent memory.

He wrote a column for Investigate magazine that basically said young men who were Muslim, or even looked Muslim, should not be able to fly on certain airlines because they were a part of society that was a terrorist threat. He referred to this group of people as coming from the fictional country of "Wogistan".

There were a number of other slurs, and the ensuing outrage was utterly predictable and justified.

He has the freedom to say what he wants, and that part needs to be respected, although the exact point he was trying to make was lost to many.

His efforts to wriggle out of it have only made the matter worse. This wasn't an off-the-cuff soundbite remark made by an MP. This is (presumably) a well-thought out written piece of work. He had time to work out and consider what he was saying.

New Zealand First, being the party it is, had its leader, Winston Peters, attempt damage control on the situation.

It's been a torrid couple of months for Peters. First, his ex-weatherman MP Brendan Horan was caught up in a family financial scandal, then Prosser self-destructs.

Part of that is the price the party has to pay for having such a dominant leader, and it proves that Peters effectively is the party and the others are simply there to make up the numbers.

There have been calls for Prosser to be sacked, but that is unlikely to solve anything. Peters can't afford to cut another MP adrift, as he did with Horan, so Prosser will likely stick around, collect his salary and fade back into the obscurity from which he started.

The annual Super Rugby pre-season match at Mangatainoka has grown into a special occasion. Top-flight rugby players at the most rustic setting imaginable. It's a great day, but organisers need to be careful that they don't price themselves too highly. Tickets this year cost $55 for an adult (cheaper if you got in early), which is at the higher end of things. Sure, there's a bit more going on than other pre-season games, but the last thing they want is for fans to be turned off because of the price.

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- Manawatu Standard

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