Foreign Minister Winston Peters delivered a back-handed compliment to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, describing him as more competent in person than he comes across on television.

Peters made his comments while talking to reporters at Parliament after saying in Question Time that Turnbull had spoken to him at Apec in Vietnam, at his own behest.

Asked how he found Turnbull, Peters was more impressed with the real person than his television persona.

"To tell you the truth, in person he is different to what he seems like on television… that is, he is a far more competent and warm-looking character in real life, rather than television.


"In fact, I think television has not been as kind to him as it could possibly have been.

"If you ask me what I think and I thought this guy is different to what you perceive him to be and we all know in politics that in the end television wins."

In the House he had referred to having met Turnbull recently at Turnbull's behest.

He explained that Turnbull had got up and come across a room to introduce himself to Peters.

In the House, he also suggested under questioning by former Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee that Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had enamoured of him [Peters] as well.

"She seemed delighted to meet me and to talk to me, and she seemed terribly relaxed about cancelling the order for the sedan chair."

Brownlee was suggesting that the current Government was causing strain in the relationship with Australia over the Manus Island refugee issue.