Richard Prosser's "stupid" comments that young Muslim men from "Wogistan" should be banned from air travel have created headlines overseas - and Ethnic Affairs Minister Judith Collins says they could cause New Zealand "international embarrassment".
The New Zealand First MP is facing pressure to resign after yesterday sparking outrage over comments made in his regular magazine column where he also spoke out against the "twin evils of diversity and multiculturalism".
By last night the story had spread as far as the United States, the United Kingdom and Malaysia. At least two Australian media outlets were running Mr Prosser's comments as well as the Straits Times in Singapore and The Muslim News, a UK-based news website.
The Sun Daily in Malaysia had as its lead headline "New Zealand lawmaker calls for Muslim Flight Ban".
ABC in the US was reporting: "NZ politician wants Muslims banned from airlines".
But NZ First Leader Winston Peters says there was an "element of truth" to Mr Prosser's comments and did not believe the MP should apologise.
In the article in Investigate magazine, Mr Prosser said while he accepted that most Muslims were not terrorists, it was "undeniable" that "most terrorists are Muslims".
His column was sparked by the confiscation of his pocket knife before boarding a domestic flight and he wrote that New Zealanders' rights were being "denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist trogolodytes from Wogistan, threatening our way of life and security of travel in the name of their stone age religion, its barbaric attitudes towards women, democracy, and individual choice".
"If you are a young male, aged between say about 19 and about 35, and you're a Muslim, or you look like a Muslim, or you come from a Muslim country, then you are not welcome to travel on any of the West's airlines," he wrote.
But Ms Collins said Mr Prosser's comments were "extremely disappointing and may cause international embarrassment for New Zealand".
"It's not good for anybody and it's stupid."
Labour MP and former Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff said the "Wogistan" comment "just confirms the image of the person who has entrenched racist and religious prejudice". "He doesn't have a future in politics and he should be told that by NZ First."
Prime Minister John Key said they were "appalling".
But Mr Peters told reporters that while Mr Prosser's comments were "extremist" there was "an element of truth" to some of them. "There are far too many Muslim extremists", he said.
However, Mr Prosser had failed to balance his attack.
Mr Peters had not asked Mr Prosser to apologise but he said Mr Prosser would issue a statement.
While Mr Prosser did not return the Herald's calls yesterday, in an interview with Newstalk ZB shortly after the article came to light he stood by his column.
He denied the term "Wogistan" was racist saying it referred to "a mythical place" and was coined some years ago by a National Business Review columnist. "It may even have been a real place."
But Pakeha Muslim Abdullah Drury of the Waikato University Islamic Studies Group scoffed at Mr Prosser's suggestion.
"I'd be really curious to read of his criteria for determining Muslim identity or political and ideological affiliations and sentiments."
Of the 50,000 Muslims in New Zealand, Mr Drury believed about 3000 were of European descent and about 100 were Maori.
Richard Prosser on ...
Banning the burqa: "This is my culture and my country, not yours. Get some respect and conform."
Gun laws: A "shotgun within reach" for dairy owners, "and taxi drivers as well as cops should almost be required to have at least a Walther PPK clipped to the sun visor".
Muslims: New Zealanders' rights are "denigrated by a sorry pack of misogynist trogolodytes from Wogistan".