India's High Commissioner to New Zealand has taken aim at National leader Simon Bridges and his former colleague Jami-Lee Ross in a series of tweets about their conversation regarding the value of ethnic minorities.
Sanjiv Kohli said in a tweet this morning, "Shocking attitude. Highly inconsistent with NZ values. Hopefully an aberration.
"India and Indians respect and admire this country and its people. Not everybody is for sale. Running a country is different from managing [department store] David Jones," he said.
An audio file of a telephone call shared between Ross and Bridges was released on social media by the disgruntled Botany MP, where the two discussed a $100,000 donation to the National Party.
The two discussed potential candidates after talking about the donation and the dinner Bridges shared with businessman Zhang Yikun.
"Two Chinese would be nice but then, you know, would it be one Chinese and one Filipino? Or, you know, what do we do?" Bridges said.
"Two Chinese would be more valuable than two Indians, I have to say," Ross replied.
"Yeah, which is what we've got at the moment, right?" Bridges said.
Kohli went on to say, "History has seen lots of expensive bridges failing because of poor workmanship. Those that last are built on mutual respect and trust.
"Same is true for people holding public positions. They are custodians of people's trust."
In the telephone call, Bridges also called National List MP for West Coast/Tasman, Maureen Pugh, "f***ing useless".
Pugh said the comments from Bridges were disappointing to hear but had forgiven him after he reached out and apologised.
"Obviously, I was disappointed to hear today's comments. But Simon has apologised and I have accepted that," Pugh wrote on Twitter.
Bridges fronted media after the tape was released and offered a "heartfelt apology" to Pugh.
"I have apologised profusely to her for my wrong comments. I am mortified. There is no excuse for them," he said.
Bridges also said telephone call was a blunt and private conversation.
"I obviously didn't mind my Ps and Qs".