Since its inception, the Maori Party has been accused of being explicitly racist by the bigots on the right, who find the idea of Maori standing up for their own interests (rather than accepting whatever crumbs Pakeha deign to leave them) highly threatening. And it hasn't been helped by co-leader Tariana Turia's frequent blurts on the desiribility of teenage pregnancy (good as it boosts Maori population growth), or blaming immigration for the failure to gain an 8th Maori seat, which explicitly reflect old-fashioned racist ideas about demographics, growth rates, and the fear of being "outbred" by the Other (demographics apparently being a race to be biggest, rather than an epiphenomena of individual's different preferences). She's banging on the second drum again today with a call for New Zealand to limit immigration from western countries in order to preserve the demographic status of Maori and claim that the government has promoted immigration to undermine Maori. The latter is the sort of unhinged conspiracy theory normally heard from the National Front about asians, or the National Party about refugees (supposedly brought in to stack the electoral rolls against National). As for the former, restricting migration on the basis of skin colour or culture can only be described as racism. There is simply no other word for it. And contrary to Turia's claim that it's not "because we are not talking about Asian immigration", the word applies whether the people being victimised are brown or yellow, black or white.
Turia's comments are in short a nasty, racist little blurt, of exactly the sort indulged in by Winston Peters, though with a different target. And it will do her party no favours. Unfortunately, they seem to be less then concerned; Turia has apparently convinced them to adopt NZ First-style state racism as party policy.