New Zealand First are doing a solo on the xenophobe and it's not sounding too good.

The clashing notes of intolerance, cognitive dissonance and pure hypocrisy are startling. What were they thinking?

Winston Peters & Co Inc have proposed that new immigrants should have to demonstrate key NZ values as part of coming here.

Judging by the values they are proposing it is unlikely that any members of NZ First or their MPs would actually be allowed into the country.

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If those who exhibit tendencies towards racism, xenophobia and bigotry would be considered as not having NZ values then NZ First would — to quote their own words — "all have to get the next plane back to where they came from", along with the other immigrants they deem to be lacking in the values department.

It is amazing that NZ First even thought this was a good idea.

To push back the threat of xenophobic arrivals by actually being xenophobic themselves is bizarre to the point of ridiculous. Winston Peters should be ashamed of himself for
touting this.

Mind you, he does have form. He has in the past tried to create fear that Chinese people were destroying the ability of Kiwis to buy houses.

The notion that you can blame economic woes on foreigners is not new — it is an old trick to sow fear as a way to harvest influence.

The whole proposed immigrant values pitch reeks with a nasty historical odour.

If the kind of values test being touted had been in place in 1840, half those early settlers would not have been allowed ashore.

Many of those colonial arrivals held strong views on British and European superiority and treated other peoples with contempt.

The drinking, stealing land from Maori and widespread condescending attitudes and adoption of discrimination against tangata whenua certainly did not fit with the values now being touted by NZ First.

Let's analyse this quote from party member Roger Melville of Wairarapa: "I'm afraid we're getting some certain types creeping in, of various nationalities, or various ideas, that are
not actually kosher with New Zealand's way of life."

Who are these certain types? Who is doing the creeping? The use of the Jewish term "kosher" certainly hints at some form of subliminal creep.

Consider what Winston Peters threw into the mix — "If you're coming to this country as a refugee, surely you respect the country you've come to.

"In the case of some refugees, if you've gone past 42 other countries that have your religion for one that does not, why wouldn't you actually have some respect for the new country you've come to and their religions."

All this can only be named for what it is – fearmongering.

Like other forms of mongering, such as iron mongering, this is about heating an issue, then hammering it into a different shape, often with a sharp edge that can be used as a weapon.

It may be that NZ First is looking at the politics of Australia and the United States, where provoking fear of foreigners has become the easiest way to get noticed. If so, it will backfire.

Contrary to NZ First's view, most Kiwis hold as one of our core values the notion that diversity is what we have in common.

*Terry Sarten (akaTel) is a writer, musician and social worker — feedback: tgs@inspire.net.nz