NZ First parliament newbie won't be shy

DANYA LEVY
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2011
Richard Prosser
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
OUTSPOKEN: Richard Prosser has strong opinions.

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New MP Richard Prosser dreams of a New Zealand where compulsory military training has returned and the burqa is banned.

The Canterbury-based NZ First list MP has some controversial ideas, many of which he has voiced in his column in Investigate magazine.

The 44-year-old is one of eight NZ First MPs elected to parliament last week.

Prosser, who is giving up a job in irrigation to become an MP, didn't believe his ideas were extreme.

"I think you'll find there is an undercurrent of support out there in mainstream New Zealand. I know people are thinking it, I'm thinking it, I'm saying it."

Prosser, who ran for the Democrats for Social Credit in Otago in 2005, said he had been a supporter of National and Act and, as a "young and idealistic" man, once voted for the Greens.

He had an "epiphany" about joining NZ First after seeing party leader Winston Peters give a speech in his home town, Rangiora, about 18 months ago.

"He's not the rat bag he's made out to be. He's a genuine committed person and a genuine patriot who wants to make a difference. That inspired me."

Compulsory military training had many social, economic and military benefits, Prosser has written. He stands by that, saying it would be good for New Zealand.

He also stands by his call that New Zealand should follow France's lead and ban the burqa – a move which had, he wrote, outraged "Muslims, leftists, commies, pinkos, the entire anti-white western civilisation brigade, along with their media toadies".

Prosser hoped to progress his ideas in parliament but Peters said the party would stick to NZ First's manifesto. "Anything other than that will arise from caucus decisions made in a democratic way."

NZ First was a freedom party and its MPs were entitled to personal opinions, Peters said.

"These are ideas worthy of having further discussions."

Prosser acknowledged he was not a "lone wolf" and his ideas would have to go through the party framework.

"But I've got a mark to make. I don't come in here thinking I know everything, but I'm not going to breathe through my nose.

"I've expounded a lot of opinions in the last 10 years and I'm going to carry on doing that. I didn't just come here to eat my lunch."

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