Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins has slammed NZ First MP Richard Prosser for his “embarrassing anti-Muslim rant” and fears international fallout may result.
Mr Prosser wrote in his monthly magazine column he wants young Muslim men banned from flying on Western airlines because they could be terrorists.
“If you’re Muslim, or you look Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you’re not welcome to travel on any of the West’s airlines,” he writes.
The comments have inflamed Ms Collins, also the Minister for Human Rights, who says they’re appalling and irresponsible for an MP to make.
She wants New Zealand First leader Winston Peters to stop hiding Mr Prosser from reporters so he can explain the comments.
“I suggest Mr Peters and his caucus familiarise themselves with this legislation to avoid causing further embarrassment to New Zealand,” says Ms Collins.
Mr Peters says Mr Prosser wasn’t at Parliament today because he was “busy working”, but told reporters the comments were a mistake.
“This is an extreme view that we don’t share as a party and he didn’t put the full side of the argument, which we’re required to do as a party, and that’s the end of it.
“I’ve done all I can and need to do,” he says.
Fellow New Zealand First MP Barbara Stewart avoided questions about her colleague’s anti-Islamic sentiment.
“I haven’t seen them. The leader’s over there and he’s commenting.”
She was asked if she condoned racism but didn’t answer.
Mr Prosser is no stranger to controversy. Previously, he has asked for burqas to be banned in public, compulsory army training for all citizens and for the South Island to become a separate state.
He entered Parliament as a list MP in 2011 as a result of New Zealand First’s strong party vote.