Foreign Minister Winston Peters is blasting China's embassy in New Zealand, telling its ambassador to "listen to your master" after she was critical of his recent Taiwan comments.

And he says New Zealand should follow Taiwan's lead in making it a requirement that people wear masks at indoor gatherings.

This comes after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed that when New Zealand goes into alert level 2, indoor gatherings of fewer than 100 people will be allowed.

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Peters has also revealed that the New Zealand Government is supporting a push to formally get Taiwan back in the World Health Organisation (WHO).

China does not formally recognise Taiwan as a country. Neither does New Zealand.
But Peters has, on a number of occasions now, referred to Taiwan as a "country".

Foreign Minister Winston Peters. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Foreign Minister Winston Peters. Photo / Mark Mitchell

And today he was singing Taiwan's praises and slamming New Zealand's Chinese embassy.

The Chinese Embassy was highly critical of Peters' personal opinion that Taiwan should be allowed in the WHO.

"There is only one China in the world, and Taiwan is part of China," the embassy said in a statement, that for this reason, it is ineligible for the membership of WHO.

The statement went on to point out that New Zealand has a "longstanding" one-China policy.

"We hope New Zealand will continue to abide by this principle, properly handle issues related to Taiwan and uphold the sound development of China-NZ relations with concrete actions."

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Asked about the embassy's statement today, Peters had a short and blunt response to Ambassador Wu Xi's statement – "Listen to your master".

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He said this is not the message that China's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, was sending – "[he] assured me that China does not behave that way".

Ambassador Wu's comments were in response to Peters' "personal" position that Taiwan should be allowed to be a member of the WHO.

At the time, he wouldn't say what the Government's formal position was.

But today, he confirmed the New Zealand Government's position was to allow Taiwan a seat at the table.

"They have got something to teach the rest of the world – every country, including China, must surely want to know the secret of their success.

"They are a ... world success story on Covid-19. They have less than 450 cases and have had four deaths and the population around the same size as Australia."

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Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website