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Don Brash `an irrelevant bigot': Labour

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 29/09/2016

<span style="font-size:13px;">Grant Robertson has labelled Don Brash "an irrelevant bigot" for fronting a new lobby group opposing what it calls Maori favouritism.</span> © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Grant Robertson has labelled Don Brash "an irrelevant bigot" for fronting a new lobby group opposing what it calls Maori favouritism. Labour MP Grant Robertson has labelled Don Brash "an irrelevant bigot" for fronting a campaign against what a new lobby group perceives as Maori privilege and favouritism.

It's the strongest criticism so far of the former National Party leader since the Hobson's Pledge Trust announced its formation on Thursday.

Dr Brash is one of its founders and says the group will be running a media advertising campaign calling for an end to preferential treatment for Maori.

It also wants the Maori roll seats in parliament abolished.

Labour leader Andrew Little has described the campaign as racist, and on Friday senior MP Robertson laid into Dr Brash.

"He's an irrelevant bigot and I don't think we should give him any time," Mr Robertson said on Newshub's Paul Henry Show.

"This notion of Maori privilege is ridiculous. He tried it a decade ago, the climate was a different, he got a bit of traction, we've all moved on."

Cabinet minister Paula Bennett, on the same show, said people had a right to stand up and hold opinions.

"But I happen to think his opinion is really wrong on this one," she said.

"I think we have some of the most settled race relations across the world - that doesn't mean we don't have challenges now and then and in some respects it's healthy that we can have a bit of a debate and a bit of an argument."

The new campaign harks back to Dr Brash's "one law for all speech" at Orewa in 2004, when he was leader of the National Party.

At the time, the Labour government accused him of playing the race card but it gave National a big boost in the polls.

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