The labelling of any Kiwi who opposes the sale of productive New Zealand assets to foreigners as anti-Chinese or 'bordering more on racism' is unjustified and wrong, says Labour Leader David Shearer.
"Keeping Kiwi assets - like the Crafar farms - in New Zealand hands is a principle worth fighting for; and one totally detached from racism and xenophobia.
"Both John Key and Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson have said that Labour is anti-Chinese and racist because of our opposition to the Crafar farms being sold to a Chinese company," David Shearer said.
"I have been called much worse. What concerns me is that, by implication National is labelling every New Zealander opposed to the sale as anti-Chinese and possibly racist simply because they oppose the sale of profitable New Zealand-owned assets to foreign interests
"Surveys show up to 85 percent of New Zealanders oppose selling our land to overseas owners. John Key and Williamson should retract their statements.
"In 2010 John Key himself said he would hate to see New Zealanders as tenants in their own country. He may have changed his mind. But Labour hasn't. We have always said we are not opposed to foreign investment.
"However we also believe no overseas purchaser has an automatic right to buy New Zealand land. That is a privilege, and any purchase must provide some added value.
"In this case, local farmers can add more value than a foreign company with no farming expertise," David Shearer said.