Winston Peters defends NZ First from conflict of interest allegations

Peter Williams 19/11/2019

Deputy Prime Minister and leader of New Zealand First Winston Peters joins Magic Mornings with Peter Williams.

Peter begins the interview with reports that Ihumātao may be resolved with the government loaning Auckland Council $40 million to buy the land back from Fletchers,asking would New Zealand First oppose that move.

Winston responds, “to the best of my knowledge no decisions have been made and most of the comments other than that have been pure speculation”.

As Peter describes a potential scenario in which cabinet is presented with the option to fund a buy back of Ihumātao Winston interrupts to put an end to the hypothetical.

You’re engaging in speculation and I said to you we don’t comment on speculation.

Peter then moves the interview to ask about New Zealand Future Forest Products applying for funding through the Provincial Growth Fund with allegations that the company is closely affiliated with New Zealand First.

When questioned on the close relationship between the Party and the company, founded by Winston’s personal lawyer Brian Henry, Wisnton told Peter the Party, “has close relationships with all sorts of people”.

Winston gets heated in his defense of New Zealand First when Peter raises the close connections between New Zealand First and the company in question applying for Government funds.

As Winston continues to decry the allegations as baseless Peter then asks why then had Shane Jones recused himself from the decision if there was no conflict of interest?

He declared a potential conflict of interest so there could be no doubt that he was not in any way involved.

The interview then moves to the purpose of the New Zealand First Foundation, which Peters denies having any knowledge of what it’s purpose is saying he’s not in charge of it.

Peter asks more bluntly does it donate to New Zealand First, Winston replies instead that, “everything that was required to be declared by New Zealand First, for 27 years, has been declared”.

You can listen to the full interview above.