July 27 2017, updated 7:37am

NZ First targets Asians again

Last updated 01:39 03/04/2008

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NZ First has revived its attack on Asian migration as its fortunes flag.

Deputy leader Peter Brown warned yesterday of a flood of Asian immigrants, as figures showed they could number 790,000 in 2026.

NZ First has previously ridden high on an anti-immigration platform.

It heads into the election polling below the 5 per cent needed to win seats in Parliament now that leader Winston Peters no longer holds Tauranga.

Mr Brown, a British immigrant, claimed Asian immigration was pushing Maori "further down the pile" and suggested Asians would form "mini-societies" that led to division, friction and resentment.

NZ First's revival of an anti-immigration line comes as New Zealand prepares to sign a free trade deal with China - which NZ First is likely to oppose but on which Mr Peters, as foreign affairs minister, must walk a careful line.

The issue is sensitive for NZ First; Mr Peters angrily objected yesterday to being asked about Mr Brown's comments and later asked for media to be forced to stand to one side on his way into Parliament's debating chamber, and to give MPs free passage.

That area is one of the few places in the parliamentary precinct in which MPs can be filmed without Speaker Margaret Wilson's permission.

"This speaks of an awful arrogance when people think they can get away with that sort of behaviour," Mr Peters said.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen agreed: "The habit has grown up more and more ... for simply a complete wall to be put up through which you have to pass as if members are entering Parliament through grace and favour of the press gallery."

Ministers often arrange in advance to hold mini-press conferences on their way into the House. Media also use the blanket filming permission to question MPs who have tried to avoid journalists over controversial issues.

Ms Wilson said a balance was needed between media access and allowing MPs "to go about their business in a manner that's unimpeded".

She promised to investigate the issue.

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- The Dominion Post

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