“Te Pāti Māori should be in damage control, distancing themselves from John Tamihere as rapidly as possible this weekend after his totally unacceptable ‘Pogrom’ comments,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Te Pāti Māori are already in hot water after the Race Relations Commissioner called a statement on their website racist this week. However, their president John Tamihere’s comment that investigations into his charities and political campaigns are a “Pogrom” do not belong in New Zealand politics. They need to dump him.

“A Pogrom refers to an organised massacre of a particular ethnic group, in this case Tamihere is comparing reporting of an investigation into alleged misuse of charitable funds to the Jews facing persecution from Nazi Germany. He is historically illiterate or totally insensitive.

“As MP for Epsom I represent the largest Jewish community in New Zealand. Tamihere’s comments are distressing and unwarranted, he owes them an apology at the very least.

“Tamihere seems to believe he is above the law. I’ve got news for him, he’s not. He’s benefited enormously from living under the rule of law, but the quid pro quo is he needs to follow it himself.

“The Charities Act and Elections Act are very clear and the authorities are very reasonably carrying out an investigation based on reports of charitable money being used for political purposes. If he has done nothing wrong he should welcome the chance to clear his name.

“Te Pāti Māori need to decide if this is really what they want to be representing. Casual misuse of genocide is not an example of tikanga, they’re either a sincere force for a better New Zealand or, what they increasingly appear to be, a refuge for a sinister new type of racist."

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David Seymour