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Danish MP accused NZ of 'free-riding' on Australia

By Kate Shuttleworth, NZ Herald

Ms Krarup confirmed she had received a briefing about the nature of the powhiri before the ceremony. Photo / Photo / Supplied
Ms Krarup confirmed she had received a briefing about the nature of the powhiri before the ceremony. Photo / Photo / Supplied

First she described a powhiri as "grotesque", now it's emerged that right-wing Danish MP Marie Krarup has accused New Zealand of "free-riding" on Australia.

The comment is included in the same blog, for Copenhagen newspaper Berlingske Tidende, which contained the reaction to the Maori welcome.

A translated transcript of the article, supplied to APNZ by Dane Inger Mortensen, reveals Ms Krarup said New Zealand's defence policy sounded like a "dream" for Det Radikale Venstre, the Danish Socialist Party.

"Could one surmise that New Zealand is a kind of free-rider under an Australian security umbrella? During our visit we were told repeatedly that New Zealand trains and coordinates with Australia."

Ms Krarup experienced a powhiri as she was welcomed onto the Navy's Te Taua Marae during an official visit for her party - Danish Folkeparti - in March.

Ms Krarup said she felt like an idiot giving a "hongi".

"I was very grateful towards the one guy who gave me a big kiss on the cheek instead of a nose rub," she said.

Ms Krarup told TVNZ this morning her comments were incorrectly translated.

Ms Mortensen, who translated the article for the Danish Society Committee in a voluntary capacity, is Danish and has lived in New Zealand for more than 10 years. She told APNZ she took pride in her translation being accurate.

"Being Danish and fluent in Danish, it was obvious to me that her blog was highly offensive in Danish and therefore would, of course, also end up being so when translated to English.

"Every Danish person I have had contact with who has read Krarup's original piece agrees."

Ms Krarup said she was sorry New Zealanders had been offended by her comments.

"The first English versions were very offending and I'm sorry about that, but I did not to the translations," she told TVNZ.

Mr Krarup confirmed she had received a briefing about the nature of the powhiri before the ceremony.

Despite her apology, Ms Krarup continued to describe her experience of the powhiri by using derogatory terms.

"If you compare it to Western civilisation, dancing and screaming like the Maori culture dance is kind of grotesque."

Asked why she had apologised and then continued to denigrate the powhiri as "grotesque" and "uncivilised", she said:

"To me it looked grotesque. It looked very strange with a man who was half-naked and in a grass skirt and who put his tongue out and was screaming. That is strange."

The Danish Folkeparti has built its success largely on the position that outsiders to Denmark should accept and adopt Danish customs and norms.

Dane fires back at critics

Marie Krarup has told her critics - including other Danish politicians - that they can "forget about" her standing down from her position on the country's Armed Forces Committee or apologising for her comments.

The Danish Folkeparti MP has come under fire in her country for her comments about a Maori powhiri while visiting a naval base in New Zealand under her capacity on the committee.

Late last night (New Zealand time) she took to Facebook to defend her comments and political standing.

"My humorous blog post about my impressions from a trip with [the] Defence Committee to New Zealand leads now that someone calls on me to leave the Armed Forces Committee. Others want [me to] apologise for what I wrote," the post, pre-translated to English, said.

"You can forget about [it]. I stand by what I wrote, and it would in my opinion be both ludicrous and wrong that I should ... simply because I have passed my travel impression to the public."

She said she had received support from New Zealanders thanking her for "breaking a taboo" and encouraged critics to "meet me with arguments instead of demanding apologies and demands for resignation".

- Morgan Tait

- APNZ

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