Peters' life after politics: Travel, commerce and a little journalism

By Patrick Gower

Winston Peters is keeping busy in retirement by dabbling in the craft of his old foes - journalism.

Mr Peters is writing a sports column for Sky Sport Magazine, and his first missive includes one of his trademark political lines: "Let's get the facts straight about this."

His enforced political retirement has let him travel overseas, work on some "fascinating commercial stuff", settle into life in Auckland and spend time at his birthplace in Whananaki, Northland.

The 64-year-old also spends his time scanning the Herald for spelling mistakes. He pointed one out when contacted this week to discuss life outside Parliament. "It is in the first three paragraphs. Why I am not surprised? Your fish-and-chip throwaway has excelled itself today."

A read of Mr Peters' column on Maori rugby reveals it, too, has a spelling mistake in the first three paragraphs - he writes of the Auckland Super City protests "taking place against a canvass [canvas] of benign political neglect".

He explained the mistake was not his. "I've got my proof here - I know how to spell canvas."

Mr Peters' "last post" column says the great institution of Maori rugby is being neglected. It draws on his personal experience as the captain of Auckland Maori and details the important contribution Maori teams have made to the game and society.

The writing contains several Winstonisms: "Work that out" (twice), "Unbelievable really" and "We need facts, not self-serving, egregious nonsense and attendant unfairness".

Mr Peters is unable to resist a political swipe while criticising a new book on Maori rugby, Beneath the Maori Moon, by Malcolm Mullholland.

"Facts and words do matter and yet this publication disregards both, qualifying it more for the parliamentary press gallery than as an historic work on a great institution."

Mr Peters was approached to write the column by Sky Sport Magazine editor Doug Golightly. He said he had no intention of being a journalist fulltime but thought his column raised some interesting points.

After spending much of his time in Wellington since first entering politics in 1978, Mr Peters is now based fulltime in Auckland and lives in St Marys Bay with partner Jan Trotman.

He would not say what countries he had holidayed in but showed off the knowledge of a former minister of foreign affairs.

"The world's got roughly 192 to 204 or 210 countries depending on whether they are having a revolution and who's in control at any given point in time. So you can take your pick."

Mr Peters showed he was still keeping an eye on the more arcane aspects of Parliament, with an in-depth knowledge of a privileges committee hearing about the rules on free speech and court suppression orders in the House.

He said the submission from the Commonwealth Press Union NZ representatives, former Dominion Post editor Tim Pankhurst and Herald editor Tim Murphy, was an "errant piece of nonsense and illegal dribble".

Mr Peters has not given a post-politics interview and after eight minutes of speaking to the Herald, called it off by saying, "I'm in the middle of a meeting."

He is still technically the leader of NZ First, which has lain dormant since being thrown out at the election, although it has a conference in August.

Mr Peters would not be drawn on whether he would make a political comeback by running for the Auckland Super City mayoralty.

"Unless I say it, then nothing's true."

- NZ Herald

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