Willie Jackson says Sir Bob Jones 'acting like an idiot' with 'Maori Gratitude Day' idea

Government minister Willie Jackson doubts the Government would strip Sir Bob Jones of his knighthood over his suggestion that a "Maori Gratitude Day" should be introduced in place of Waitangi Day, but says he's "acting like an idiot".

A online petition is demanding the businessman and former politician be stripped of his knighthood because of comments he wrote in a column on a newspaper website.

In an opinion piece in the National Business Review, Sir Bob said: "As there are no full-blooded Maori in existence it indisputably follows that if it had not been for migrants, mainly Brits, not a single Maori alive today, including Professor Temaru, would have existed."

And he suggested a public holiday, 'Maori Gratitude Day', where Maori supply breakfast in bed and do other chores to show gratitude for their existence.

"I have in mind a public holiday where Maori bring us breakfast in bed or weed our gardens, wash and polish our cars and so on, out of gratitude for existing," he wrote.

NBR removed the column, tweeting this was "due to inappropriate content".

The petition organiser, Renae Maihi, told 1 NEWS Sir Bob's column "goes beyond inappropriate".

"Somebody who speaks like that, and writes like that, should not be a sir in our country." 

But Labour MP Willie Jackson believes that would be a step too far.

"People have made mistakes, who have been knights, and so to make him an example of, I don't think is fair. You know I don't think as Government we'd go down that track," he told 1 NEWS.

"Bob really just has to look at himself because he's better than that, and at the moment, he's acting like an idiot." 

Comedian Mike King says what Sir Bob needs 'is our empathy and a warm bowl of custard'. Source: 1 NEWS

Social commentator Mike King said: "I don't think anyone should take seriously what Bob is saying. He's like that doddery old uncle whose social filter is now broken."

1 NEWS went to Sir Bob's Wellington office. He didn't want to appear on camera as he had just had an eye operation. 

But he's standing by his comments, saying he wrote a "perfectly factual thing" and maintained it's not racist.

He said "some things I said are indisputable" and "it's obvious some of the things I said were a piss take", adding that he doesn't hate anyone. He also said the petition is "infantile".

The Human Rights Commission said in a statement Sir Bob Jones and outlets that choose to publish this kind of rhetoric need to be prepared for public backlash that they provoke, and deserve.

Ms Maihi said: "The world that he thinks he lives in, or the country he thinks he lives in, doesn't exist anymore." 

Ms Maihi wants measures put in place to prevent the publishing of such comments and says New Zealand can do better.

The businessman is sticking to his words and others don't believe he should lose his knighthood. Source: 1 NEWS

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrives in NZ to meet counterpart Winston Peters

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrives in New Zealand today for talks with our Foreign Minster Winston Peters.

The two Foreign Ministers will meet in Auckland today and tomorrow for the formal six monthly foreign policy discussion between the two countries.

The two ministers have said discussions will surround regional and global issues that are important to both countries. Source: Breakfast

"Australia is New Zealand's most important bilateral partner and our discussion will help ensure the trans-Tasman relationship is working effectively," said Mr Peters.

"This meeting is part of the regular foreign policy consultation with Australia. We will discuss in depth the global and regional issues where we have shared interests," he said.

The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, will meet Winston Peters in Auckland on Friday and Saturday. Source: 1 NEWS

The two Foreign Ministers last met in November at the APEC Ministerial Meeting in Vietnam. 

Their meeting in Auckland will also prepare the way for the annual meeting of New Zealand and Australian Prime Ministers due to take place next month in Australia.

Last year, Ms Bishop said it would be difficult to trust a Labour government after a dual citizenship scandal involving Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Tensions continued to simmer, with the two countries at odds over the treatment of refugees on Manus Island and over Australia's now-dumped plans to charge Kiwis higher university fees.

On TVNZ1's Breakfast earlier this week, Labour MP Kieran McAnulty said it would be "just another meeting" between Winston Peters and Ms Bishop. 

"There's always going to be differences but [Australia] does remain our closest ally. I'd say it'll be all sorts of international items on the agenda that Australia might be looking for New Zealand support and vice versa," he said.

The Breakfast Club said it would be "just another meeting", despite Ms Bishop previously saying she would find it hard to work with a Labour government. Source: Breakfast


Former US rodeo rider turned vet calls for ban of calf rope and tie practice

With the rodeo season in full swing across New Zealand a former US rodeo rider is calling for a ban on the practice of calf rope and tie.

"I don't dislike rodeo people, I was one once. My concern is for animals because they have no voice," says Dr Peggy Larson.

Dr Larson was a bronco rider and now she's a vet with decades of experience, and not your typical animal activist – she's not a townie and she eats meat.

She believes spurs and flank straps can be painful but her biggest concern is calf rope and tie.

"As fell rope stops they have at least 250 pounds pulling against his neck," she says.

But New Zealand Rodeo Cowboys Association president Lyal Cocks defends the practice.

"The suffering is minimal ... there might be odd accident same as you get in any sport involving animals," he says.

He says there's "misleading" and "untrue" information circulating about rodeos and says video footage is altered to "denigrate” rodeo.

"I just wish to convince activists to have some sort of understanding rather than black and white."

All the animals get vet checks and when it gets too rough the competitor gets disqualified.

Dr Larson managed to buy a ticket and go into the Lawrence Rodeo.

"I was happy to see couple calves let go because they were too stressed. They let a horse go that was too stressed and I thought that was was something really positive.”

But she still says rope and tie is unacceptable.

"I saw some of these calves roped at least twice, possibly three times today. I can't look at a calf roping event without thinking at the science behind the damage that's being done to that calf's neck."

Dr Peggy Larson is in New Zealand as rodeo season is underway. Source: Seven Sharp