New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has called the removal of statues across the country a "wave of idiocy".
"Why do some woke New Zealanders feel the need to mimic mindless actions imported from overseas?" Peters said.
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But Greens co-leader Marama Davidson said now is the time for New Zealanders to have a conversation about removing statues that critics say no longer have a place in New Zealand.
"These statues have always been a tribute to colonial oppression – that hasn't changed."
Black Lives Matter protesters across the US have taken down controversial statues they say are symbols of racist oppression.
The movement has spread to New Zealand, with calls that Kiwis should be looking at their own backyard at some of the statues across the country.
This morning, Hamilton City Council removed a Captain Hamilton statue, after complaints about the part he played in the New Zealand land wars.
But Peters is not happy the movement is gaining pace in New Zealand.
"A self-confident country would never succumb to obliterating symbols of their history, whether it be good or bad or simply gone out of fashion," he said.
But Davidson, whose Green Party helps makes up the New Zealand First/ Labour Government, completely disagrees.
"The history that we have all been subjected to, was in itself a rewrite to begin with; a history that undermined and left out voices, stories and achievements of many Māori."
The tone of Peters' press release, sent by New Zealand First and not through Peters' official government channels, is one not seen since the 2017 election campaign.
There are 99 days until New Zealand's election and Parliament will soon rise for the election campaign period.
Peters said that a country learns from its mistakes and triumphs: "Its people should have the knowledge and maturity to distinguish between the two".
"The idea that statues of Captain Cook, the greatest maritime explorer of his age, be pulled down because of the history that followed him is disgraceful.
He also lists "what if" hypothetical questions, including:
• If one doesn't approve of war we pull down our cenotaphs;
• Should we demolish every school that once applied corporal punishment?
• Should Gandhi's statue be thrown in the Wellington harbour because we don't agree?
• Should knighthoods to the undeserving be post-humously withdrawn?
• Do Māori now disown our mixed heritage?
"The woke generation are the equivalent of a person with no long-term memory, stumbling around in the present without any signposts to guide them.
"If a person, like a country, doesn't know where they have come from, they have no way of knowing where they are going."