New NZ First MP: 'Ban the burqa'

By Star Canterbury, Cullen Smith

Richard Prosser, NZ First MP. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Richard Prosser, NZ First MP. Photo / Geoff Sloan

One of Canterbury's newest MPs wants to ban the burqa and arm bank tellers, dairy owners and taxi drivers.

NZ First list MP Richard Prosser garnered just 538 votes in the Waimakariri electorate, but swept into Parliament on the strength of party leader Winston Peters' rise from the grave.

He makes no apology for the strength of the controversial Rightist ideas he has been pushing for almost 10 years.

But Taxi Federation executive director Tim Reddish dismissed Mr Prosser's call to arms as "absolute nonsense."

"Arming taxi drivers would be the worst possible result for drivers," he said.

"They don't want to treat their customers as potential adversaries." Mr Reddish said the recent introduction of security cameras in taxis had "a profound effect" on passenger behaviour and he was very pleased at the direction the industry was taking.

"His views sound like those of a redneck to me."

It has been a meteoric rise for the outspoken 44-year-old who joined the party just 15 months ago after hearing Mr Peters speak at a Grey Power meeting in Rangiora.

Mr Prosser aligns himself himself well to the right of centre, but qualifies that by saying he's "unsure if the whole Left-Right thing is appropriate in politics these days".

"Yes, I call myself a Right-winger, but I know we need to help the less fortunate people in society - the old, the young, the sick and the weak."

"We're all in this together."

Prosser also wants a return to compulsory military training. So, does he think he can persuade his NZ First colleagues to his way of thinking?

"I would imagine some of my views will be shared among party members," he said.

"They are my personal opinions. I'll raise them with my caucus colleagues, but I'm not going to be able to push or promote anything that's not party policy."

Mr Prosser has been publishing his line of thinking for nine years in Ian Wishart's Investigate magazine through his Eyes Right column.

On the burqa, he says New Zealand should ban the traditional Islamic women's head-to-toe clothing: "This is my culture and my country, not yours. Get some respect and conform."

On compulsory military training: "There will be the pacifists, the weaklings, the other cowards and bludgers ... who will conscientiously object ... they can spend a couple of years picking up rubbish off the beaches and digging out long-drops for DOC instead."

Mr Prosser says Norway's recent mass killing by Anders Behring Breivik "put the spotlight on a number of human and societal failings'' applicable to New Zealand.

"As recently as 1973 every bank in New Zealand had a pistol under the counter and tellers undertook regular revolver training.

"Whose brilliantly stupid idea was it for that policy to be abandoned?''

He suggests "dairy owners and householders alike'' should be allowed to have a "shotgun within reach, and taxi drivers as well as cops should almost be required to have at least a Walther PPK clipped to the sun visor''.

Mr Prosser and his partner, Mel Francis, have a two-year-old daughter and have lived in Ashley for the last three years after moving north from Otago so Ms Francis could study at the College of Education.

"Then we had a baby, so she had to give up studies," he said.

Ms Francis is now pregnant and stranded temporarily in England, where she returned to care for her sick grandmother.

- Christchurch Star

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