Act's controversial marketing guru resigns
Act Party marketing director John Ansell has quit after criticising "white cowards" for not standing up against Maori radicals.
Leader Don Brash confirmed he accepted Ansell's resignation today.
The new leader refused to be drawn on the details surrounding Ansell's departure.
"It's an employment issue and it's not appropriate to discuss in the media."
Ansell, who designed the Iwi/Kiwi billboards, attacked "white cowards" for not standing up against the "Maorification" of the country, the NZ Herald reported.
"These guys (Maori) have gone from the stone age to the space age in 150 years and haven't said thanks. That's the nature of the thing. In Maori world, if one tribe conquers another you eat the guys' eyeballs. The Brits were pretty civilised by that standard," Ansell reportedly said.
Prime Minister John Key was also the target of Ansell's venom in the article.
He labelled Key the "most lilly-livered Prime Minister" and an "idiot".
An advert that ran in the Weekend Herald yesterday asked: "Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?"
The Dominion Post refused to run the same ad.
Brash would not say if the party was embarrassed by Ansell's comments.
But he said they were "clearly inappropriate."
"I've made it clear that I don't share some of the views he expressed."
In an Act statement on Friday, Brash endorsed Ansell's marketing campaign.
The advertisement itemised ways in which radical extremists have succeeded in imposing a separatist agenda on a long-suffering New Zealand.
"I have been warning of this creeping separatism for some time, as part of ACT's One Law for All campaign," Dr Brash said in the statement.
"Separatist militants have been trying it on. The fact that the Dominion Post, unlike the Herald, was too cowardly to run our ad shows how well those militants have been succeeding, not only in advancing their agenda but in closing down any debate on it.
"It's time to tell them their game is up," Brash wrote.
Ansell polarised New Zealand with his 2005 National Party election advertisements, which included the Iwi/Kiwi billboard.
The advertisements accused the Labour Party of "selling out the beaches to iwi".
The comments have brought outrage from Maori.
Mana Party leader Hone Harawira said "redneck Brash" was attempting to boost support by riding on the xenophobic fears of Joe Bloggs.
"People can see your ad for what it is - a pathetic attempt to make people believe that Maori receive privileged rights and that the boot needs to be put into the indigenous people of this country so that rich people like yourself can feel better about themselves. If anything Don, Maori do not have their rights recognised enough," he said in a statement.
He said New Zealanders would not stand for "Maori-bashing" and accusations Maori "ate eyeballs".
"Perhaps Don we should remember that the British had a liking for inflicting punishment via 'hung, strung and quartering' people," he said.
"[Brash is] a dinosaur who has no place in politics."
Meanwhile, Ansell has defended his comments and the decision to quit the Act Party.
"They're such a bunch of lily-livered buggers in the party," he said.
"I thought it was impossible to do anything bold. I'm glad I've brought this to the head. I don't have any regrets at all."