AUCKLAND (Sachin Sharma): The Labour Party has sacked a list candidate after it emerged he once praised a an anti - Islam column in 2013 terming Islam a "Stone Age religion".
Kurt Taogaga, who was ranked 68th on the party's list of 84 candidates to contest the September elections. He had contested from Helensville in 2017 but lost to National Party's Chris Penk.
Taogaga said he wasn't sure he agreed with then-NZ first MP Richard Prosser's racist "Wogistan" column "wholeheartedly" but called it "brave".
As the tweets surfaced he was removed from Labour's list this week. He apologised Saturday promising to do better in the future.
Taogaga in 2013, before he entered politics, had said on Twitter, "We need to see Islam for what it truly is". He linked to a news article about what he called a "brave" column by then-New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser in Investigate magazine.
In the article written after airport security seized his much - loved pocketknife from him Prosser said, "Muslims threaten New Zealanders' way of life and young men who 'look like a Muslim' should be banned from flying". "Go ride a camel instead," he wrote.
In his controversial article, Prosser said the Swiss army knife, given to him years ago by an aunt and uncle when he headed off for his overseas experience, was ‘‘confiscated’’.
The column was headlined ‘Enemies at the gates’.
The tweets by Taogaga were put to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an interview. Ardern said she wasn't aware of them.
"It is not the belief system of the Labour Party, but I am happy to reflect on a column from, again, seven years ago, and take any steps that might be required as a result in terms of making sure our candidates are familiar with the values we hold as a party," Ardern said.
After PM's Friday interview Taogaga was removed from party list. Labour Party president Claire Szabo said, "The opinions expressed in Taogaga's tweets from 2013 do not represent the views of the Labour Party".