21 July 2024

PM displeased with Jone’s ‘wrong’ remarks about Indians

Shane Jones is said to be standing by his comments

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has publicly expressed her absolute disagreement and displeasure with the remarks made by NZ First Minister, Shane Jones about Indian immigrants.

“I take that very seriously, which is why I’m very, very clear I totally disagree with Shane Jones, I will be telling him that, and I will also be asking him to reconsider the way he talks about these issues in the future because I do not believe it is good for New Zealand,” Ardern said at her post-cabinet meeting media conference yesterday.

PM Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (NewsViews/ File photo)

Jones did not attend the Cabinet meeting yesterday for “personal reasons,”, and the PM said “When I see Minister Jones next I intend to (bring it up).”

However, according to a Herald report, Shane Jones is standing by his comments.

“There is a verse in the Bible, once the spoken word is out – you can’t put it back in your gob,” he reportedly told the Herald.

“She (Ardern) has her role as the leader of the Government; I have my role – in an MMP environment – of championing a population policy,” said Jones as reported by the Herald yesterday.

Ardern, however, declined to say if his remarks were ‘racist’, but in her view, they were ‘wrong’, and “it’s not the opinion of the Government, she said.

“On many occasions, I have witnessed Minister Jones be both loose with his language and also be wrong, and on this occasion, he was both,” PM Ardern said, perhaps realising the damage Jones remarks could make to NZ’s ties with India and its effect on local Indian community.

“I absolutely disagree with the statements that he’s made, but I also have to acknowledge that he is not a member of my party, so it’s going to be obviously the case that from time to time we will disagree, that is why we are in different political parties,” PM Ardern said, perhaps realising the damage Jones remarks could make to NZ’s ties with India and its effect on local Indian community,” The PM said.

Jones had targeted the Indian community while talking to Newshub’s Nation over the weekend when he said, “…everyone comes here from New Delhi. I don’t like that idea at all,” while referring to the rise of population in New Zealand. He went to blame Indian students for ‘ruining’ many educational institutions.

Read: newsviews.co.nz/everyone-comes-here-from-new-delhi-says-shane-jones/

His ‘racist’ remarks have evoked widespread condemnation. It has caused a furore and outrage in the local Indian community and students on social media.

Shane Jones
Jones (R) seen on Nation’s programme (Screenshot: Newshub)

Local Indians have emphasised on the significant contribution of the strong Indian community to the economy of the country, including to the $5 billion education sector. If students from India (& China) diverted their destination to other countries, the education industry would collapse overnight, several commented.

Others  have questioned the need of current visit to India by two senior Ministers to woo business if Indians were not welcome.

This was not the first time Shane Jones had indulged in India bashing.

Last year, he remarked Indians “have no legitimate expectations in my view to bring your whole village to New Zealand”. Again when the Indian community expressed unhappiness with partnership visas policy for arranged marriages, he said they(Indians) could “get on the first plane home” if they didn’t like the country’s immigration policy.

He also refused to apologise for his remarks that caused an outrage, and street protests. 

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