By REBECCA WALSH
It seemed a fair enough question.
Halfway through an interview for Asian television station WTV, Winston Peters was asked: "Can you see anything that is good in new immigrants coming into this country?"
It seemed not.
Mr Peters said people who had come from Asian countries to New Zealand in the past 30 years backed what he was saying - that there were too many immigrants.
"They like me; they are my informants. They don't like what's happening because they see pressure we can't handle here because of the volume of people coming.
"That's what I'm saying. I know my country. And I know that if we carry on the way we are, we are going to have a level of discord, violence and racism which we never contemplated.
"Who's responsible for that? Me? No."
The man who has put the immigration debate back in the headlines fronted up yesterday for a grilling on Sky's biggest Asian programme. He faced an interview with Rod Peng of World TV for the station's Face to Face programme.
Asked why it was that every time he opened his mouth "the media says you are anti-Asian", Mr Peters said 85 to 90 per cent of the media were into emotion, not facts, and were not professional.
He was not totally against immigration but that was not represented in media coverage.
"I am for an integration programme where people come here, where people can be settled properly and where they are employed and become part of our economy.
"If you run a totally failed economic policy which sees your best people leave to go elsewhere, then you don't fix it by bringing in other people. You fix the policy to keep your people here."
Mr Peng asked Mr Peters if he had any feeling for new migrants who were abused in Queen St and told to go home.
"I come from a Maori background. I might know something about discrimination and prejudice," said Mr Peters.
"Of course I'm aware of that. It's sad. But you tell me, why is that happening? Because of the numbers, the speed with which they are coming and the total lack of integration policies.
"They are not running an immigration programme. They are just running a population replenishment programme without any concern for what it means to New Zealanders or the immigrants."
Mr Peters laughed when Mr Peng told him he was a "very capable politician" but had "one very big problem - communication".
The NZ First leader said he might have problems communicating with the media but he had no problem packing halls for meetings during the election campaign.
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Herald feature: Immigration
By REBECCA WALSH