Winston ALT TV interview: Key "plastic," "superficial" - Americans ignorant
Just glimpsed the rushes of the Oliver Driver interview with Winston Peters airing tonight.
Driver managed to strike a rapport in the early stages by covering some history and that seemed to permit him to ask some tougher questions on his slush funds later on without the dialogue deteriorating into a combative bog of obfiscation. It was a very good, serious interview and I know that if any political leader other than Winston bloody Peters was saying it they would be pulling twice as much support as he does now, tainted as he is by his trust fund shennanigans.
So it started well, before Winston launched - albeit briefly - into swipes against the local media. He dismissed the campaign antics of rivals as disappointing: "bungy jumping... does this pass for politics?" He was scathing about the leader-media relationship that he claims has developed, saying it would not be allowed in other countries. "Holding a meeting with the media" rather than with real people at public events came in for particular criticism. He avoids saying anything about Clark, but on John Key he had plenty to say: "so plastic - so superficial".
The former Treasurer lectured us on the - now obvious - problems of having "the most volatile currency in the world". And while rounding on his former National colleagues over finance policy he makes the claim that the Business Roundtable paid for National policy to be written. I think it was at this point - and Driver comes back to it near the end of the interview - that he alludes to some up-coming scandal involving National's funding which he, naturally, doesn't want to have any part of... sounded more vague than threatening to me. But that's Winston isn't it.
Winston wanted equity stakes in NZ banks - the British model. All he said on immigration was to use Britain as an example of a trend to cut numbers in face of a recession.
Then Winston, the suspended Foreign Minister rips the Yanks a new one.
The Iraqi invasion was built on false evidence and he was against it all along he explained. He recommends the documentary on MacNamara and the Vietnam war, The Fog of War: "it should be seen by everybody". An excerpt:
He said, like Vietnam, Iraq was a "classic mistake" by the US because they didn't understand history.
And as for the Free Trade negotiations with the US, he said he lobbied the State Department and - it seems - lectured them over democracy and compared our two track records on the matter.
On the 1981 Springbok tour - a question Key lapses into amnesia over - Winston answers succinctly. Whether you are convinced of it is another matter. He believes in freedom of association in religion, culture and sport, so he did not oppose the tour, but the would-be Maori All Black said he never went to a single game.
On coalitions Winston described Dunne and Hide as selfish, but on which party NZ First would align with he stuck with his "the public will decide" position, leaving Key and the Nats - despite their stated antipathy to Winston in a ministerial role - nevertheless having to talk to him to avoid a Nat-Act-Maori-UF deal. Winston hasn't ruled out going "issue-by-issue". Winston would have to use the Maori Party as leverage to National to go with him should his party be returned, but he did not comment on the Maori Party.
He claimed to have been in Uruguay at the time of the anti-smacking bill. As a defence for not taking a position this would have to be one of the strangest. At this point I wished Driver would get him to answer the damned question: "You're not in Uruguay now, Minister Peters" would have been a beautiful line.
Then right at the end, ambush-style, Driver asks Winston about the whole Hooton thing. Cue tirade. Matthew Hooton is a "fascist" and his allegations "disgusting". Ahh, that's Winston.
Streaming live Alt TV and on Channel 65 Sky TV at 8:30pm.