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Peters: 'You shouldn't throw your political weight around in this environment'

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Jul 2018, 10:02am

Peters: 'You shouldn't throw your political weight around in this environment'

Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Mon, 16 Jul 2018, 10:02am

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters says he hasn't thought yet about whether or not he is enjoying his new role.

Talking to Leighton Smith in studio, Peters says that it never occurs to him to enjoy it.

"I just got on with it, it's been very busy. A few things have arisen which we've had to handle with the greatest of care.

"But basically, it's as I expected it to be," Peters said.

Jacinda Ardern is due to return to office in early August, if she sticks to her initial commitment of taking six weeks maternity leave.

It would see Peters return to his role as Deputy Prime Minister, but he wouldn't be drawn on whether it was a role he would like to do more of.

"I'm doing a job and I'll do it to the best of my ability."

Asked by Smith whether the 2017 election was his last, Peters again referenced the situation in Malaysia, where the Prime Minister is 93 and his deputy is Peters' age at 73.

"My point is, in this modern age, a lot of people are living far longer, they're doing things at a far older age group."

Moving on to foreign affairs, Peters, who is also Foreign Affairs Minister said it was between people, not leaders.

"We should never forget to cultivate, the expanded fellowship, companionship, indeed agreement with foreign countries, people by people, not politicians. Otherwise all sorts of cloistered, arrogant, self-centred people might be the controlling feature of our future."

"And that's why we should never make comment on what this person's like, what that person's like."

Peters said he had met Russian President Vladimir Putin and others but he did not express a view of them because it did not help his country.

Speaking on denuclearisation of North Korea, Peters said it was critical it occurred.

"I do think a whole lot of countries will have to step up to ensure, including the influence of China, to ensure it both happens and that we give North Korea cause for it to happen by ensuring that they have an economic future."

Peters said there was no doubt in his mind that US President Donald Trump's meeting with Kim in Singapore was the right thing to do.

"I would always applaud people who meet and converse even if they have a wide variance in their opinions and their views."

Peters said spying was leading to greater attempts to interfere with other countries' economic and political affairs.

"And it's leading to greater measures on the parts of other countries to counter-react against that, to stop that happening, to ensure that they know where that level of interference and undue duress is coming on, in terms of geopolitical theatres."

He said that was the reason New Zealand had "collegial relations" with countries it shared information with.

"You can't afford not to."

New Zealand is a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, which includes Australia, the UK, US and Canada.

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