Long before Boris Johnson railed against the European Union as a politician, he railed against it as a journalist.
But Foreign Minister Winston Peters says he won't be holding the former career of target="_blank">Britain's incoming Prime Minister against him.
Writing for the Daily Telegraph from Brussels in the early 90s, Johnson made a name for himself with notorious headlines such as "Threat to British pink sausages" and is reported to have been a favourite of Margaret Thatcher's for his Euro-bashing.
"[I] was sort of chucking these rocks over the garden wall and I listened to this amazing crash from the greenhouse next door over in England," Johnson later told the BBC.
But while he has been accused of playing fast and loose with facts – and his former editor Max Hastings recently called him a brilliant entertainer who was unfit for office and could not recognise truth about himself "if confronted by it in an identity parade" - Johnson's writing propelled him to notoriety on his return to London.
Foreign Minister Peters is fond of Johnson and less fond of journalists.
Asked whether he held Johnson's reporting against him, Peters on Wednesday chose to separate the two.
"The distinctive thing about Boris Johnson is he was, and is, a serious historian, which differentiates him from your profession," he told reporters.
National MP Maggie Barry, who spent three decades as a broadcaster, sees it more favourably.
As Conservation Minister she gave Johnson some wildlife advice when he visited New Zealand in 2017.
"The humour of the guy had a lot of the same features of people who give you good copy [writing]. He's eloquent and a bit humorous and a bit refreshing," she said.
"He's taken that base of skills and built on it. It's the core of his success. His ability to communicate."
Barry puts on a voice and does an impression of Johnson joking about how a tuatara is so ancient it makes him look good.
With an ancient lizard & Britain’s new Prime Minister pic.twitter.com/fymNGfBRt5— Maggiebarrynz (@maggiebarrynz) July 23, 2019
"For someone like Boris, he's managed to maintain his individual flair and personality and use it as a virtue to propel himself, whereas a lot of other people go the other way and become beige and bland," Barry said.
"He's not just someone who has come out of a sausage machine."
After coming back from Belgium in the mid-1990s, Johnson became the Telegraph's chief political writer and an influential voice on Fleet Street.
He edited the Spectator magazine until 2005, four years after he entered Parliament.
He's far from the first politician to make the transition from reporting politics to being in it.
Before former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made his fortune in investment banking, he took a turn in the significantly less lucrative media industry, working at the Sunday Times newspaper in London.
His predecessor, Tony Abbott, too had an earlier life as a reporter, including writing for the Australian.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill served as a war correspondent, including for the Daily Telegraph and the Morning Post, during the late 19th century, writing from the front lines of the India, Sudan and later the Boer War.
And United States former vice-president Al Gore was a journalist including during the Vietnam War – saying the experience inspired him to become a lawyer.
Back home, it's a handful of MPs that make up the group of reporters-cum-politicians.
National's Melissa Lee spent 23 years as a journalist, including at the Herald.
Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi worked for more than a decade as a television reporter while Transport Minister Phil Twyford also had a former life as a journalist. Labour's Tamati Coffey, too, was a television presenter.