Although Jamie Mackay vowed to "put down the gloves" in today's interview with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, there was still room for verbal sparring.

In particular, Peters took exception to The Country host's suggestion that New Zealand was effectively being run by Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and Dr Ashley Bloomfield during the Covid-19 lockdown.

"The rest of you are superfluous," said Mackay.

After a deafening silence Peters responded.


"Now if you want to make extraordinary statements like that you're talking to the wrong guy right? With the greatest of respect, you don't know what on earth you're talking about if you think that's the case."

Peters, who will be celebrating his 75th birthday this weekend, went on to say there was no substitute for experience and common sense when it came to sorting out the nation.

"Don't forget where that comes from all right?"

Listen below:

Luckily Mackay and Peters managed to find common ground in Minister of Regional Development Shane Jones' suggestion that infrastructure spend could be fast tracked by cutting Resource Management Act red tape.

"There's no time to be shilly-shallying around with everybody's rights so to speak, when in fact many of the people who are making their protests, or stopping councils are just being prurient in their view about development and progress," said Peters.

"We're all in this together and the faster we can get these jobs done the quicker it will be [for] our economic recovery."

Getting the economy back on track after the Covid-19 lockdown was vital said Peters

"The lockdown was essential. The economic analysis though is critical, because we need to start looking now as to how we come out of this and maximise the recovery in every area that we can, whilst having to forego some areas of recovery because that won't happen."


One of those areas was international tourism said Peters, but he believed a "new focus" would come in a post-coronavirus economy.

"Added value [and] reliance on New Zealand production and manufacturing. There's a lot we can do, and we could make a seriously world-leading recovery if we think right."

On a less-serious note, Peters ended the interview by jokingly suggesting his birthday was actually December 25th, before accusing Mackay and the media in general of being ageist.

"You look at the American presidential race - they're all older than me mate - and they're going flat to the boards with the biggest economy in the world. So some of this ageistic behaviour on the part of you and your colleagues in the media - you've got to get over it.

"Let's face it - we all want to live for a long, long time don't we?"

Also in today's interview: Peters said there would be a quarantine period for people returning to New Zealand and described how the Government was operating under lockdown.