Words matter Winston but facts matter more

Southeast Asia Image credit: CNN

Winston Peters has accused Mike Hosking of misrepresenting his speech made in Washington last December when Peters warned America about a growing security threat in the Asia Pacific region. Quote.

While New Zealand and the United States work together on a range of global issues, our cooperation and like-mindedness is now coming into sharper relief in the Asia Pacific where the region is becoming more contested and its security is ever more fragile.

It is New Zealand?s view that the Asia-Pacific region has reached an inflexion point, one that requires the urgent attention of both Wellington and Washington. And that is why we are here.

A nuclear armed North Korea is one threat that has the potential to undermine security. New Zealand’s diplomats and its Defence Force are engaged in support of US-led efforts to enforce UN resolutions, with the expectation that pressure will force meaningful dialogue. We are pleased that the United States and North Korea are back at the table.

In the South China Sea, claimants in the various territorial disputes have acted in ways which challenge international law and norms. Tensions are escalated by artificial islands built in contested waters, and which are militarised. New Zealand has consistently urged parties to resolve disputes peacefully in accordance with international law and in particular the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Within this context, there is another area where greater co-operation is now timely – the South West Pacific. The significant focus of our visit to Washington is to share our concerns and enlist greater US support in the region closest to New Zealand. We unashamedly ask for the United States to engage more and we think it is in your vital interests to do so. And time is of the essence.

New Zealand and the United States, we believe, have particular responsibilities in the Pacific as two countries which, through their geography, history and people to people connections, are intrinsically part of the region.? End of quote.


So who is this secret squirrel country posing a major security threat? Besides China, it could be Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines or Vietnam, (discounting North Korea because Peters mentioned them separately with the assurance that they were well behaved).

Both China and Japan have constructed large military bases in the last couple of years. China has constructed enormous floating islands in areas under dispute.

Aerial photo shows Chinese cargo vessels bringing building materials to Zamora Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands. Image credit: The Sun

Hosking tried painfully, numerous times, to get Peters to admit that China is the threat he was referring to, but Peters would neither confirm nor deny.

In the end, Peters told Hosking to stop adding words to his speech because ?words matter?. Then Peters later made the following statement to prove a different point altogether. Quote.

NZ First is the longest surviving new party in NZ?s history. End of quote.

Whaleoil transcript

Besides the fact that NZ First is well past being a new party, it was founded in 1993, making it 26 years old. Peters forgot about another once new party, the Green party, which was formed in 1990, making it 29 years old.

To be fair, however, it was a member of the Alliance back then and didn’t go out on its own until 1997. Technically, though, it was formed before NZ First, although it didn’t win representation until 1996 when it was a member of The Alliance.