NZ won't cut funding to WHO but will seek answers for 'underperforming', Winston Peters says

Source: 1News

While Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters believes the World Health Organisation has some serious questions to answer for regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, he says New Zealand's funding stance towards them won't be as drastic as the US.

Mr Peters spoke to TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning from his home in Whananaki about the WHO and said everyone, including himself and US President Donald Trump, has a "different take" on the situation.

"All I can say, personally, when this matter was a pandemic, I think the WHO should have been saying so a long time before they did," Mr Peters said.

"They should have been saying this was a pandemic because amongst other things we weren't getting the facts out of China and internationally we were not getting early-enough warnings.

"Let's be honest here - we're paying for an operation we need to know is operating at its maximum efficient value and not underperfoming.

"It's very hard for them to explain why didn't they see the level of this crisis we are all facing when they are, after all, the World Health Organisation."

Mr Peters was asked whether New Zealand was considering withdrawing its funding from the World Health Organisation after President Trump confirmed the US has earlier this week.

However, the Deputy Prime Minister said New Zealand wasn't looking at such a drastic approach but rather simply wants answers from the WHO.

"I watched this very carefully when it was developing, I watched the news coming out of Wuhan and around the world and I kept on hearing that it wasn't a pandemic - it was.

"It was a serious pandemic and if we could have got there earlier a whole lot of people would have had their lives saved.

"We're all responsible, we're all accountable and we've got to be transparent, we've got taxpayers money going to these organisations and I'm not saying we're going down the line of Donald Trump in terms of destroying funding, but we're entitled to ask the serious questions - were you up to scratch at this serious time?"

In his announcement of cutting USA's funding, Trump says the outbreak could have been contained at its source and spared lives had the UN health agency done a better job investigating reports coming out of China.

The president says the world depends on the WHO to work with countries to make sure accurate information about health threats are shared in a timely manner.

Trump claims the organisation failed to carry out its “basic duty” and must be held accountable.