Winston Peters has today weighed in on the departure of National MP Jian Yang from politics.
Dr Yang, who has come under fire for links to Chinese spying agencies, announced earlier today he's retiring from politics after what he called careful "consideration".
"Politics is demanding and I now look forward to spending more time with my wife and family," Mr Yang said in a statement today.
Mr Peters says the news is welcomed.
“It is breath taking, given New Zealand’s long democratic tradition, that National has tolerated the intolerable by protecting Mr Yang from being held to account by our media," Mr Peters, who is recovering from an operation, said in a statement.
"He has never satisfactorily explained his past links with the CCP and their military intelligence-linked language schools, nor has he or the National Party ever apologised for his misleading statements when he applied for citizenship.
“It is even worse that when last in government National for over 16 months allowed Mr Yang to sit as a member on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee until he was quietly replaced. This is shocking when you think about it, a low point in protecting some of New Zealand’s most sensitive relationships," Mr Peters said.
The controversial MP was bumped up the party list from 33 to 27 when Todd Muller took over as leader.
In 2017 it emerged that he taught English to students at a language school run by the Communist Party's People's Liberation Army.
He did not disclose the links to the PLA when he applied for residency.
He previously told NZ media he resigned from the Chinese Community Party when he came to NZ.
Mr Muller said Dr Yang had made a big contribution during nine years in Parliament.
"As a list MP he has travelled the country, supporting many different communities helping them with different issues. His dedication has helped the Chinese community in New Zealand better understand and participate in politics.
"Jian has served as chairperson of Parliament's Education and Science Select Committee and is currently chairperson of the Governance and Administration Select Committee. He has served both committees with distinction.