The current Labour-New Zealand First coalition with the Greens has caused concern for some farmers, who feel their way of life is being unfairly targeted. Today on The Country Jamie Mackay asked Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters why Kiwi farmers should still back this Government, and whether the Greens are dragging it down.
Mackay: Do you think the Greens are dragging the Government down? Julie Anne Genter with only one letterhead in her office , this is a bit of a debacle - you wouldn't do that - do you have two lots of letterhead in your office by the way?
Well I do. I've got the letterhead for the party for New Zealand First, where the matter is purely political and not to do with the taxpayer, and I've got the Ministerial letterhead of course.
But I can't comment on other political parties. I still don't know what the facts are about case and I still don't know what the point is that the Opposition's banging on about. Do you know what the point was?
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Mackay: I've got no idea what the point is but I just ...
Peters: Well we had a whole question series in Parliament yesterday and nobody knows what the point of the questions were at the end of it.
Mackay: Well there were allegations she was using strong arm tactics on Phil Twyford, but that's not the point. It's the point that she got up and [was] talking absolute nonsense in Parliament. Look - are you worried that the Greens, your support partners in Government - are dragging you down? They're coming up with so many harebrained ideas. Julie Anne was taking meat and milk out of hospitals last week.
Peters: Well that's not going to happen. And they're not our support party, they're the Labour Party's support party. The coalition Government's between Labour and New Zealand First.
As for things like that being pulled out of hospitals, that - most definitely - is not going to happen.
Mackay : Well I'm pleased to hear that.
Peters: So I don't want you guys starting at shadows.
Winston Peters: 'I haven't let anyone shaft the farmers'
Mackay: What about the talk out there that I'm hearing from farmers, and a lot of them don't like it, and they've had a crack at me over this one, for opening up this idea that rural New Zealand, provincial New Zealand voting strategically for New Zealand First to get rid of the Greens from the next government.
Listen to the full interview below:
Peters: Well set aside the last reason. The reason why the farming community should vote for New Zealand First is that, compared to party they've been loyal too all these years, who have done absolutely nothing for them - and not one of you what the National Party's ever done for you lately - they used to have the dollar heading towards 80 cents US. That was enormously destructive of farming profits.
We've got it at 65, 66 - and it's not there by accident - and it may even go lower. That means that you're 20, 22 per cent better off than you were.
That's why New Zealand First should be the party you're voting for. Because we've got provincial polices, we understand the agrarian essentials when it comes to the economy of the rural people and we're putting massive infrastructure around rural people - including getting more doctors and hospitals and other treatments near where people live.
Just look at what the National Party used to be under Holyoake, in a former time for the farmers, and this latest crowd who spend all their time in the big end of town with the capital markets and the banks and not doing a darn thing for farmers.
If your farming community wants to wake up and have a good hard look- put that comparison up and say - which party performs and which one is all talk.
Most of the guys in the National Party don't know one end of the cow from the other - you know that!
Also in today's interview: Peters pays tribute to Sir Brian Lochore, discusses how he thinks the US/China trade war will affect New Zealand as a trading nation and dismisses the idea of Sir John Key as a great Prime Minister.