Top Shows

Contact ONE News

Henare calls Harawira comments racist

Published: 8:09PM Tuesday August 03, 2010 Source: NZPA

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira might not want one of his children dating a Pakeha but National MP Tau Henare wouldn't mind.

"I don't care who my daughters come home with as long as they've got money," he joked today.

He called Harawira's comments racist and stupid.

Harawira said in a weekend newspaper interview he would not feel comfortable if one of his children had a Pakeha partner.

Prime Minister John Key also jumped on Harawira's comments today, saying they were unfortunate and ridiculous.

But Maori Party co-leader Dr Pita Sharples said the remarks were not racist and probably mirrored the feelings of many people.

Henare said his mother and grandmother were as "white as driven snow" and he would not have a problem if his children dated a Pakeha person.

"I mean it's the 21st century for goodness sake, the guy needs to pull his head in", adding the MP seemed to have a problem with Pakeha in general.

"I think you can get that he doesn't like the white fellas."

Sharples, whose father was English, said Harawira was entitled to his own view but it was not that of the party.

"I think it's just not divisive at all. It's a viewpoint."

In the end it was up to the children who they married, he said.

Asked if he was worried by Harawira's frequent media outbursts Sharples said it "keeps everyone alive and awake".

The Prime Minister said he thought Harawira's comments were unfortunate, ridiculous and rear-ward looking.

He said he was surprised because he would have expected Harawira to embrace a multicultural society.

"My kids have friends of all ethnicities, we celebrate that, we live in that sort of society in New Zealand, I'll be judging their partners on whether they're nice to my son or my daughter and whether they're a good person, not on the colour of their skin."

Key said he once met one of Harawira's daughters and thought she was "a really nice girl".