Thanks to The Press's rather obtuse reporting, it's difficult to work out what exactly National MP Nicky Wagner is trying to say in this article - but it seems to me that she's on the side of right.
What I think Wagner's trying to do is condemn the racism which affects Christchurch taxi drivers, and which may have had a part in the terrible death of Afghan driver Abdulrahman Ikhtiari. Wagner says, "There are a large number of immigrants working in the taxi industry, bars and restaurants, dairies and service stations. They work at night, generally lowly paid and serving the community, and are getting abused, and it's not good enough."
Couldn't agree more. I'm resisting the urge to point out National's role in said low wages, or complain about the general racist bizarreness of Christchurch. What I will observe is that Wagner's comment marks a significant departure from the National government of the 1990s, which put great faith in the colour- and gender-blindness of the market, to the extent that those groups which did poorly in the socioeconomic stakes were regarded as personally inadequate. You might remember the Hone Carter affair, when John Carter rang up talkback caricaturing an unemployed Maori man and describing himself as a dole bludger.
Wagner's comments seem to suggest a more mature approach to the issues of race and socioeconomic status - one which recognises some of the structural factors affecting non-Pakeha Kiwis. It remains to be seen whether Wagner's comments represent a shift in the view of the National party as a whole, or whether Wagner, like Katherine Rich before her, will find herself ever so slightly marginalised from the party's hub for expressing mildly progressive views.