David Fisher

Senior reporter of the year

Act backer: We all dislike Maori

Louis Crimp. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Louis Crimp. Photo / Steven McNicholl

The biggest donor to the Act Party says he gave the money to Don Brash and John Banks so they could stop special treatment for Maori who were "either in jail or on welfare".

In an extraordinary interview with the Weekend Herald, Louis Crimp said he believed he had the support of Brash, Banks and other "white New Zealanders".

Mr Crimp made the largest financial contribution to the Act Party for the 2011 election with a $125,520 donation.

His comments have appalled Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples.

But the Act Party last night affirmed Mr Crimp's right to have his say - and welcomed future donations if he was inclined to make them.

Mr Crimp, a multimillionaire businessman, said he was inspired by Dr Brash's controversial 2004 Orewa speech and supported Act when the former National Party leader took over as Act's leader last year.

"I supported Act because I thought Brash would go along the way for Maoris to be treated like equal New Zealanders ...

they don't get any more than a normal New Zealander and we're all the same.

"The money I gave was to get Don Brash in to go with his things about the Maori. I know white New Zealanders want the Maoris to be treated like ordinary New Zealanders."

Mr Crimp, 79, said he had met Mr Banks - now Act Party leader and a Government minister - within the past few days and was encouraged he would pursue the same goals.

"He's lonely. He needs somebody else in there [Parliament] with him."

Mr Crimp said Act should have taken a harder line on Maori during the election even if it led to public outcry. "All the white New Zealanders I've spoken to don't like the Maoris, the way they are full of crime and welfare."

He said he had asked Dr Brash why questions about special status for Maori were not pursued harder during the campaign. He said he was told the issue had been campaigned on but had been ignored by the media.

The campaign came after the Rugby World Cup, which showcased Maori in a way Mr Crimp opposed.

"It was an embarrassment at the Rugby World Cup, [Maori] coming to shore in canoes, with hardly any clothes on, waving spears and poking their tongues out, all painted up."

He said it was intended as a welcome but would have terrified visitors.

"Every opportunity the Maoris get they have to do this war dance, whether it is for a funeral or something happy or a wedding. They feel they have to take all their clothes off, stick tongues out and wave spears. That's not New Zealand."

He said New Zealand was poorer because of Maori claims, welfare, language revival, television and crime.

"The Maori language, that is the biggest waste of money that New Zealand has ever spent on anything ... $500 million a year to promote the Maori language.

"It's making New Zealand poorer by paying the Maori out the welfare and the language."

He said that when he met Mr Banks, he complained about the cost of Maori TV.

"He agrees and so does Brash but somehow or another it didn't get across to the public."

Mr Crimp said the Labour Party had given Maori "special benefits" for 30 years to get votes.

He said the Act Party should not be in a coalition with the Maori Party. "What are they going to claim for next?"

He said the party had to be more direct, although it was not able to position itself as "anti-Maori".

Asked if his political views could be labelled racist, he said: "I don't give a stuff what I'm called. You have to look at the facts and figures. This is the problem with New Zealanders. Most of them dislike the Maoris intensely - I won't say hate - but they don't like to say so."

He said there was such nervousness among those he expressed his views to that he would ask if they had Maori blood.

"They don't like to say anything against the Maoris. They say it very quietly with their eyes looking around."

He said Maori were over-represented in crime statistics.

"I'm an Invercargill person and there's hardly any Maoris down there so this doesn't happen. But in Auckland, you pick up the crime page in the Herald, most of the faces in the Herald are brown in the crime page.

"The Maoris in jail are 51 per cent of the people in jail and yet they are only 13 or 14 per cent of the population. They're either in jail or on welfare."

According to the Department of Corrections, as at March 31 last year Maori made up 51.2 per cent of New Zealand's prison population. Maori make up about 15 per cent of New Zealand's total population.

Dr Sharples said Mr Crimp was "out on his own ... this guy - where does he get off?"

He said he had worked well with Act Party MPs.

"If Mr Crimp told the Act Party that's the reason he's giving them the money, they should have turned him down."

Act's president, Chris Simmons, said he disagreed with Mr Crimp on some areas but respected his right to have a view.

He said he saw Maori culture as "part of our culture".

"One of the beauties of the Act Party is we believe everyone should have their say.

"That's his view."

Mr Simmons said the party would take Mr Crimp's money again.

Mr Banks, Act's sole MP, did not respond to calls.

Shortly after Mr Crimp's donation, a squabble erupted inside the Act Party over its election advertising plans.

Advertising guru John Ansell quit the party after adverts he designed asking Kiwis if they were "Fed up with the Maorification of Everything" were cancelled.

- NZ Herald

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