NZ First MP accepts Muslim comments not balanced

Updated at 9:41 pm on 12 February 2013

New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser has been forced into a backdown and now says comments he made about Muslims were not balanced.

Mr Prosser had called for young Muslim men, men who look Muslim or who are from a Muslim country aged 19 to 35 to be banned from Western airlines.

In a column for Investigate magazine, Mr Prosser states he made that call because most terrorists are Muslim and the rest of the world should face that head-on.

He said he won't stand by while his children's freedoms are denigrated by "a sorry pack of misogynist troglodytes from Wogistan".

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters on Tuesday criticised the comments as extremist and lacking proper balance.

Mr Peters said he has spoken to Mr Prosser about wrongfully impugning millions of law-abiding, peaceful Muslims.

Prime Minister John Key said the comments reflect not only on Richard Prosser, but on his party.

"It's an example of the depth of thinking coming out of the New Zealand First caucus, isn't it? It's an appalling thing to say, it's stupid.

"It was premeditated - it was wrote as an opinion piece. It's clearly what New Zealand First think of other New Zealanders, but it's a bit buffoonish, if you ask me."

MPs from other parties have condemned Mr Prosser's comments as offensive and racist.

Labour Party leader David Shearer said they could incite hostility against people in New Zealand and overseas.

"I find this offensive. I find it inappropriate for a Parliament like ours. If those sorts of comments were made in the Middle East, it could incite violence - we don't want that here."

Mana leader Hone Harawira said the comments are racist, as they tar a whole group of people with the same brush.

"That's the mark of the guy, I think really. It's kind of like saying that no 19 to 35-year-old white guys should be allowed to go anywhere because they cause so many wars around the world."

Richard Prosser is refusing to be interviewed, but in a statement on Tuesday said he agrees that his comments lacked balance and do not represent the views of New Zealand First.

Listen to report on Checkpoint ( 2 min 45 sec )

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