Whanau Ora Minister Tariana Turia is hitting back at New Zealand First leader Winston Peters who has likened the social service scheme to apartheid.
Mrs Turia says Winston Peters is stirring up negative feelings among those who don't understand what Whanau Ora is, but who do understand what apartheid is.
She said Mr Peters' remark is highly irresponsible and insulting to the millions of people who suffered under the apartheid regime.
Ms Turia said Whanau Ora is about self-determination, not segregation.
She said she felt compelled to respond to the comments and remind all politicians of their moral and ethical responsibilities in the use of their of language.