Act ad man quits after blasting 'apartheid'

By David Fisher, NZ Herald staff

Act Party leader Don Brash. Photo / Janna Dixon
Act Party leader Don Brash. Photo / Janna Dixon

The marketing guru behind controvesial new Act Party adverts has quit after he attacked "white cowards" for not standing up against the "Maorification" of the country.

Act Party creative director John Ansell said Maori were taking advantage of New Zealand's fear of appearing racist and he wanted the Act Party to speak out.

He said: "These guys (Maori) have gone from the stone age to the space age in 150 years and haven't said thanks. That's the nature of the thing. In Maori world, if one tribe conquers another you eat the guys eyeballs. The Brits were pretty civilised by that standard."

Ansell has the ear of new leader Don Brash but deputy leader John Boscawen is facing claims of insurrection after questioning the direction of Ansell's adverts.

But last night, Brash distanced himself from Ansell's "extreme statements" and he confirmed today that he had accepted Ansell's resignation.

While he would not comment on the resignation today - saying it was an employment matter - Brash said yesterday that he did not want to associate himself with those kind of views.

Ansell was taken on by Act after previously winning plaudits - and criticism - for his 2005 National Party election advertisements. The best known was the Iwi/Kiwi billboard, which panned Labour for treating Maori separately from non- Maori.

Yesterday, Ansell said he was considering quitting his role with Act because some were balking at a polarising position. Adverts asking if Kiwis liked living in "Apartheid Aotearoa" and if people were "Fed up with the Maorification of Everything" had been canned.

An advert he considered tamer had been chosen and ran in the Weekend Herald yesterday. It asked: "Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?" The Dominion Post in Wellington refused to run the same advert. The canned adverts - obtained by the Herald on Sunday - contained material cut from the advert printed yesterday. One line was: "Now is the time to draw a line in the sand (while we've still got access to the beach)".

Brash refused to discuss the canned adverts but attacked the National Party for "appeasing groups of Maori radicals". He said exceptions created for Maori, like advisory boards, were a form of "apartheid".

Brash and Ansell were supposed to be sharing a stage in Palmerston North yesterday but the creative director pulled out citing problems with the party.

Ansell said "white cowards" were scared to "tell the truth about this Maori issue".

"If you don't agree with the Maori radical perspective you're branded a racist." Asked how a "radical" was defined, he said: "People who want everything all the time."

"Yes there were some confiscations that were unjustified. My reading of the issue is there are some legitimate grievances that should be settled and a number of other that are grossly overplayed for the purposes of extracting compensation."

He said Prime Minister John Key and Attorney-General Chris Finlayson were "grade-A idiots" but he admired the Maori Party for taking advantage of them. "When the white man opens the door and says come in and rape us, of course, if you've got any sort of business like sense you'll go for whatever you can get."

Ansell said Key was an "idiot" who was the "most lilly-livered Prime Minister" and a "massively incompetent economic manager". He said the National Party no longer espoused the values it claimed - instead the Act Party had taken over.

"Don Brash cares more about Maori than the Maori Party or Mana Party or any other party combined. He just wants Maori to get with the programme... not be idiot, useless, Johnny-come- latelies." He said Maori were worse of economically because they were "too bloody lazy" to listen to iwi leaders. He also referred to "high achieving Maori, most of whom are in Queensland".

Ansell said Boscawen had interfered with the creative direction of the adverts because "John wants to be popular" and the polarising line was likely to attract the label "racist".

"When push comes to shove I can't do my job the way I want to do it. If you've got a creative director then the creative director should direct the creative. Not the fundraiser. Not the deputy. I've asked them to work out who decides these things."

Ansell said Act should be polarising debate with 20 per cent of the public having the potential to vote for the party.

"It's a men's party. I can't get them to agree to that but it's a party for men and women who think like men. It's Peter the Plumber from Pakuranga and he would be electrified by that. It's not anti-Maori but anti- Maorification... the relentless Maorification of every bloody thing in New Zealand."

- Herald on Sunday

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