Whaleoil transcript: Beijing, Pacific development & the CGT

Mike Hosking.
Part one starts at 7:50
Part two

Mike

Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters is with us, very good morning to you.

Winston

Good morning.

Mike

What do you make of what happened in? um Beijing overnight with the Prime Minister? I?m reading the comments Li [Chinese Premier Li Keqiang] and Xi [Chinese President Xi Jinping] both made, neither seem enamoured with us at the moment. Is that fair?

Winston

Well, what I?d planned to do, and I think the country should do is wait till the Prime Minister gets back and with precision and exactitude, tell us what her questions were rather than me trying to interpret when I wasn?t there.

Mike

He says, this is Li, at present China and NZ ties overall are developing in a stable manner, fair but not ebullient, and we hope that we can aspire to the greatest common denominator regarding each other?s interests and then when each side?s businesses invest in each other?s businesses they can enjoy a fair transparent convenient environment.

Once again, not overly ebullient is it?

Winston

Well, it sounds like our relationship with the United States or the UK, with Australia ? with every country I know. And our job is to go on making sure that our relationships improve.

Mike

And how will we do that?

Winston

Well, by doing what the Prime Minister did. [Indistinct] face to face, meeting with them.

Mike

The FTA upgrade which is coming soon, no date, does that sort of thing worry you?

Winston

Well actually, right back in 2008 you will recall, because unlike other people, I said the deal wasn?t good enough and we shouldn?t be signing it, and the deal was far inferior to the Australian deal which followed very shortly after that. And ever since then we?ve been trying to update it. Now, put the past behind us, but I said it back in 2008, and so we are working really hard now, we are probably in our 8th round of negotiations as we speak, to have a much better deal aligned with New Zealand?s interests in the way that Australia got in terms of Australian interests.

Mike

Is part of our problem? I read your Georgetown speech out of Washington in December of last year and there?s no question that you?re worried about China and the Pacific. Is that fair?

Winston

No, we are worried about vacuums building in the Pacific where certain interests are? are coming in and filling those vacuums and not all of those interests are in the Pacific interest or in the? in the interest of our place in the Pacific or our long-term security.

Mike

Exactly.

Winston

That Georgetown? that Georgetown speech was a wake-up call.

Mike

Yeah, exactly, you are warning American about China.

Winston

Well, no. I am warning the United States about ah? the Pacific which is their backyard, the same warning which General Douglas MacArthur gave them before the second world war. I?m warning the Japanese, I?m warning the EU, I?m warning the ah? ?the French. I?m warning everybody that?s interested in the Pacific about certain developments which we must keep on top of.

Mike

Exactly. Those developments are the Chinese.

Winston

Well, again, you know you?re wrong about that because certain other interests in the Pacific are not in the Pacific interest as well. So rather than sorting out?

Mike

Who are they?

Winston

Well, we do not advance New Zealand?s foreign policy by talking about very sensitive issues um ah? with a megaphone, so to speak. That?s not how we do it.

Mike

So, you?re not telling me. I?m saying it?s China, you?re saying it?s not, but when I ask you who it is you won?t tell me.

Winston

Well? no? look, what I?m going to say Mr Hoskins is you?re the expert in all these matters.

Mike

Well I?m quoting you.

Winston

I? I read your articles. They?re actually extraordinary in their? in their level of arrogance and misinformation. And so, if you want to turn this into an interview, please do. What you are saying is what you say. Well, why don?t we reverse it? Why don?t I become the interviewer and you answer the questions?

Mike

Laughs. I?d be? I?d be happy to. No problem at all.

Winston

Well I bet you wouldn?t last five seconds. But never mind.

Mike

But I?m quoting you. You?re the expert. I?m giving you the accreditation of the expertise, quoting you in your speech, and in your speech?

Winston

No, you?re not.

Mike

Well I am.

Winston

Mr Hoskins, no, you?re not. Mr Hoskins you are not. I did not mention any nation in that speech.

Mike

No, I know you didn?t but I?m suggesting to you it?s China.

Winston

[Indistinct] 11:00

Mike

That?s right. Acutely mindful, let me quote you, ?acutely mindful of and archly concerned by the asymmetries at play in the region at a time when larger players are renewing their interest in the Pacific, the speed and intensity of those interests at play are of great concern to us, our eyes are wide open to this trajectory and we know that yours are too.? That?s China.

Winston

Well, here we go. I?m hearing my speech being read back to me. When I gave it in Georgetown, I never heard back from you next morning now did I? Or the next week, or the next month? No. Just when you can? you think you can match some particular point to try and embarrass me and my country.

Mike

I?m not remotely interested?

Winston

Mr Hoskins, do the speech when I give it, not years later, all right?

Mike

Well, when you say “years later”, it was December of last year so it?s four months ago?

Winston

Laughs.

Mike

And it?s? it?s relevant now because the Prime Minister is in China and you were bagging China in Washington and these are your own words.

Winston

Well, now there you go. I did not say anything of the sort. I? I said there were renewed interests coming into the Pacific ah? and with a new focus and we had to be alert to them. And you decided that you would be the interpreter for Winston Peters, and the brilliant minds that helped me write that speech, and start naming who it is. You?re wrong.

Mike

No. I? I? I? I offered the idea that it was China. If you say it?s not, I then asked who is it and you won?t tell me.

Winston

Well I did say it was and wasn?t, didn?t I.

Mike

Oh, I thought you did. So, is it or isn?t it?

Winston

[Indistinct] No, you can?t fake these things. Words matter. Go back on the transcript and tell me how you jumped to that conclusion. It wasn?t in your mind before you asked the question.

Mike

Because I couldn?t possibly work out who it would be in the Pacific that?s so large, so powerful you?d want to go to Washington and warn them about.

Winston

Laughs. Oh, how extraordinary. What’s your next question Mike…

Mike

Well, what?s extraordinary about that? If it?s not China who is it?

Winston

Well? it?s? you?re back again. It?s so repetitive, I mean it?s like a stuck record even though the technology has moved on. What’s your next question…..

Mike

So, you?re not going to tell me who it is?

Winston

What a slow learner you?ve become this morning. What?s wrong with you? Had a bad morning? What happened?

Mike

Nothing?s happened.

Winston

I?ve told you for the fourth time that the speech stands by itself. As clear as daylight for all those who are interested in learning a lesson they were trying to impart.

Mike

All right. Let me change subject then. CGT. There?s a poll out the other day and it said? had 90% of people who owned farms, businesses and lifestyle blocks are against the CGT. Are you cognisant of that view in the community?

Winston

Ah, Mike, I?ve also read your articles on that. The level of scare-mongering that you engage in knows no bounds. Just relax.

Mike

Laughs.

Winston

There?s? no, no. Don?t laugh. The level of scare-mongering from someone who is told that we are consulting with the big end of town, the small end of town, from Invercargill to Kaitaia we are consulting. And in April we will announce the results you are not prepared to wait for. You?ve been out there scare mongering all your articles.

You know nothing about taxation either, by the way. But let me tell you, you just be patient and very shortly from now, sooner rather than later, you are going to get the precise answer as to what the government?s response will be to all this scare mongering about the capital gains tax or otherwise.

Mike

Will NZ First?s position be a moderating position against some of the thinking of the greens and labour?

Winston

Every? every now and again you show a presence of mind which astounds me. And you?ve just shown one.

Mike

There we go. So, you will be offering a moderating view on CGT? So, for the 90% of people on farms and lifestyle blocks, businesses who don?t like it may see something from you that would appease them?

Winston

Well, that?s one thing that this party stands for and that?s the reason why we are the longest surviving new party ah in recent history in this country. We believe in common sense.

We understand what?s happening on the streets and out there with small businessmen and businesswomen and how their struggle is very difficult in an environment written by the neo-liberals at great cost to themselves. Yet we do understand.

Mike

Good.

Winston

And this party, the party?s called NZ First and we will ensure that they are listened to, that they?re heard and that they can be comfortable with the tax system. It?ll be simple, it?ll be capable of being complied with, but we are not going to start some huge industry for accountants and valuers.

Mike

Good. But that?s all I?ve ever argued on the CGT. That blood sweat and tears goes into a business?.

Winston

No, no, no. You?ve gone a whole lot further. You?ve damned NZ First. You?ve damned me, you?ve damned everybody else. But the sad thing is, we keep on winning and you keep on doing what you do.

Mike

I?m a supporter of the provincial growth fund.

Winston

Oh, really?

Mike

Yup. Well go look up the articles, I can supply them to you, if you want?

Winston

That? that?s got to be the world?s best kept secret. Because the provincial growth fund has been here for three decades and when we bring it out and announce it you decide you?re going to be a supporter of it. What were you doing before that? You were supporting the big city, Steven Joyce, the neo-liberal experiment which was causing enormous disaster, for instance in the regions of this country. Remember that?

Mike

Yes, I remember it Winston. Geez, I don?t want you to pop a blood vessel this morning, all I want?

Winston

Mike, I?m having a lovely time. I?m laughing and smiling here. I love talking to you, I really do.

Mike

And me too. And vice-versa, there?s a mutual? there?s a mutual respect and like there but all I?m concerned about?

Winston

There?s a place for guys like you and me long as you keep that in mind, okay?

Mike

Well that?s good. Where is that place?

Winston

Well, you?ve told me you?re doing your job better than you are, and me just doing my job same as I am.

Mike

Laughs. You have a good day, always fun. Winston Peters the Acting Prime Minister.

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