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Peters' speech `vile and hateful'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/06/2016 Peter Wilson, Political Writer

A cabinet minister has accused Winston Peters of making a "vile, spiteful and hateful" speech in parliament.

The NZ First leader caused outrage on Tuesday when he used a solemn occasion to attack the government's immigration policies.

Party leaders were expressing their condolences over the Orlando shooting that left 49 dead.

The killer was Omar Mateen, born in the United States after his parents arrived from Afghanistan.

With the exception of Mr Peters, party leaders confined themselves to expressions of sorrow and sympathy.

Mr Peters said New Zealand's border controls were lax and vast numbers of immigrants were being allowed in.

"We are inviting that problem by the looseness and the cavalier attitude we're taking," he said.

He later defended his comments, saying western nations should be talking about border control and immigration because those issues were having a dramatic impact.

On Thursday Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told parliament Mr Peters' speech was "without doubt the most vile, spiteful, hateful and ignorant intervention I have heard in my time in this parliament".

He said that even by Mr Peters' standards, the NZ First leader was plumbing a new low "by drawing a nexus between a United States citizen born in that country and this country's immigration policy".

Mr Woodhouse also rejected a call by Mr Peters for immigrants to be made to sign a "values statement" when they arrived, committing themselves to supporting New Zealanders' cultural attitudes to freedom, free speech and the treatment of women.

"Frankly, his call for some kind of Anglo-Saxon values statement to be signed by new migrants absolutely epitomises how ignorant and out of touch that party is," Mr Woodhouse said.

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