A National MP is denying he called Indian student about to be deported "faulty Chinese fridges" and insists he was referring to training institutions under investigation.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi's remark on an Indian radio show added fuel to last night's protest in west Auckland by about 50 students calling for amnesty from the government. About 150 students say they are facing deportation to India after it was discovered their immigration agents faked information on their visa applications.
Migrant Workers Association spokesperson Anu Kaloti said Mr Bakshi made the comparison after being specifically asked what he thought about the students being victims of a scam.
Mr Bakshi, a list MP based in Manukau East, said his comments had been misinterpreted, and he denied he was referring to the student deportees.
Ms Kaloti told Morning Report today she was on the same radio show just before Mr Bakshi and the comments she heard were directed at students.
She said his point was it was fair they were to be deported, because they were ultimately responsible for their documents. When he was challenged by the host, he made a comparison with New Zealand sending back imported fridges from China which are found faulty on arrival.
"I don't think it's just a one-off or an off-colour phrase especially given that the students in question here did make contact with Mr Bakshi as a desperate plea for help and they did not even get an acknowledgment for their request.
"I think that speaks volumes [on] where this analogy is coming from."