Teuila Fuatai

Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Act 'must distance from donor'

John Banks. Photo / APN
John Banks. Photo / APN

Act leader John Banks has moved to distance himself from an anti-Maori tirade by a wealthy Act Party funder.

Invercargill businessman Louis Crimp told the Herald he donated more than $100,000 to the Act Party for the 2011 election because he thought Mr Banks and previous Act Party leader Don Brash would stop special treatment for Maori who were "in jail or on welfare".

A spokeswoman for Mr Banks said on Friday the Act leader had never met Mr Crimp and "spoke to him briefly on the phone for the first time last week".

She also said Mr Banks did not share the same views as Mr Crimp.

In an extraordinary outburst at the weekend, Mr Crimp criticised Maori culture, stating: "All the white New Zealanders I've spoken to don't like Maoris the way they are full of crime and welfare."

Race relations commissioner Joris de Bres said yesterday firmer action should be taken by the Act leader to condemn Mr Crimp's comments.

"There is a difference between affirming freedom of expression and taking money from people who express ... repugnant views.

"It behoves the party to do a little more than just say ... we support freedom of expression so we'll take money from anybody."

Mr de Bres said Mr Crimp's comments were absolutely appalling and were not at all representative of New Zealanders as suggested by the Invercargill businessman.

"We're all looking around for the so-called New Zealanders he's talking about."

The commissioner last night said he had already received one complaint about Mr Crimp's comments which alleged the comments breached the Human Rights Act.

He said Act needed to make a firm stance against Mr Crimp and completely "distance themselves from the money".

- NZ Herald

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