Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

MP Richard Prosser's future looks shaky

Richard Prosser. Photo / NZ Herald
Richard Prosser. Photo / NZ Herald

Richard Prosser's brief parliamentary career appears to be in its twilight. The NZ First MP is likely to be pushed down the party list at the next election, making a return to the House unlikely, a party source says.

Mr Prosser has been widely vilified for his anti-Muslim comments in a recent magazine column, but party leader Winston Peters has so far said he doesn't believe Mr Prosser should leave Parliament.

But a well-placed party source told the Weekend Herald yesterday that even if Mr Prosser survived the immediate fallout and New Zealand First secured 5 per cent or more of the vote at the election, "he'll be so far down the list next time you won't see the top of his head".

"He's p****d the party off no end. The biggest issue is his total lack of judgment."

While Mr Peters has said there is "an element of truth" in Mr Prosser's comments, which included a call to ban young Muslim men from travelling on Western airlines because "most terrorists are Muslim", the source said the New Zealand First leader was angry about Mr Prosser's use of offensive language.

Mr Prosser referred to Muslims as "troglodytes" from "Wogistan" and said Islam was a "stone-age religion".

"The moment he started talking like that he lost all credibility with his argument about terrorism," the source said.

"Peters is seething about it as much as anyone else." The fact that (Brendan) Horan has gone is the only thing that's saved him."

Mr Peters expelled Mr Horan last month amid allegations that the Tauranga-based MP had taken money from his dying mother's bank accounts. That left New Zealand First with just seven MPs.

Mr Prosser, who entered Parliament at the last election at number four on the party list just a year after joining NZ First, yesterday continued to believe his "unreserved" apology after the comments were widely publicised would save his career.

"I think New Zealanders are essentially fair people and if you make a mistake but admit it, undertake not do it again and undertake to correct some of the harm ... people will give you a fair go."

- NZ Herald

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