Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has strongly refuted the criticism on her government for overseeing a casual trivialisation of racism at country’s highest political offices condemning and distancing herself from Minister Jones’ outbursts against the Indian community. 

“I consider those comments to be both wrong and I consider them to be bad for the community and bad for New Zealand,” Ms Ardern said. 

Ever since Cabinet Minister Shane Jones has targeted the Kiwi-Indian community – second time in just a few months - by saying that Indian students had ruined NZ academic institutions and was further defended by his Leader Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters by shifting the blame on the Indian community for Mr Jones’ comments, there has been much concern in the community about growing casualisation of racism at the highest political offices. 

Speaking to the Indian Weekender, Ms Ardern was at her usual best in distancing herself from her cabinet colleague’s racist tirade, when she asserted the importance of “admonishing someone in public.”

When asked if she was giving a lame excuse for allowing racism to perpetuate at the topmost level of the government Ms Ardern firmly denied by asserting “I don’t consider that I have excused it in any way. I have condemned it most vehemently.” 

“Ultimately, the only things that can stop [Shane Jones’ comment] are voters. Voters decide who we work with,” Ms Ardern asserted. 

On being further asked if she had given a clear runway of next six months till the next election to Minister Shane Jones for going rogue as and when he wished, Ms Ardern sidestepped the suggestion by saying, “I think you are diminishing the power of being admonished in such a public manner.”

Ms Ardern further asserted, “I think that me standing up and saying that it’s bad for New Zealand actually matters. And I do not want to trivialise that.” 

“But equally my message to voters is that in an election year the power now sits with you as you determine who is able to form the government and you have within your own power to decide what you make of those remarks as well,” Ms Ardern said. 

When asked if she, by not disciplining the errant Minister was risking too much goodwill that she had rightly earned after the unfortunate Christchurch terror attack last year when she firmly criticised the racist ideology Ms Ardern remain stoic in her convictions that she has again “stood firm in criticising racist comments.”

“For me the issue of inclusiveness in New Zealand, the issue of our diversity being our strength... you will see me repeat time and again...they are values I believe strongly in, and I live in,”

“It is simply not fair to take the statement of one individual MP and cast a shadow on an entirely different Party, because we have condemned those statements,” Ms Ardern asserted.