Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson has been kicked out of the Debating Chamber for refusing to apologise after National MP Maureen Pugh objected to his use of the words "a right-wing fascist".
But Jackson says the reason he refused to apologise was because he would have been apologising to the wrong person: he had called the Act Party "right-wing fascists" - not Pugh or National.
"I'm not apologising to the wrong person. I like Maureen very much. She's a good sort. But I don't like that Act lot very much."
He said that had an Act MP objected to it, he would have apologised.
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The exchange was during the debate on a bill to include up to two Ngai Tahu representatives to the Canterbury Regional Council after the 2022 local body elections.
The representatives would be appointed rather than elected – and Act and National oppose the move.
During his speech, Jackson said democracy was about recognising indigenous people and an indigenous voice, "something that the National Party here, and the right-wing fascists on the right here, the Act Party, have forgotten and don't understand."
Pugh stood and said she objected to being called a "right-wing fascist" and Deputy Speaker Adrian Rurawhe demanded Jackson apologise.
Jackson refused to apologise, was denied a point of order to explain and instead ordered to leave the debating chamber. He was then called back in for making a comment as he left – and Rurawhe threatened to "name" him – a stronger punishment than being kicked out.
Jackson said he had been trying to explain that his comment was directed at Act, but Rurawhe had not let him.