Full interview: Winston Peters denies Ihumātao deal in fiery exchange on Q+A

Source: 1News

A combative Winston Peters denied that there is a deal involving Ihumātao between the Government, developers and Māori who claim mana whenua over the disputed land. 

Mr Peters appeared on Q+A this morning in a heated interview with host Jack Tame, where he was asked about Ihumātao, a trans-Tasman bubble, coalition partners, cameras on fishing boats, his party's policies, and stimulating the economy.

At one point, Mr Peters asked Tame whether he is "a slow learner", and also belittled his understanding of Māori affairs and his use of Te Reo Māori on television.

Last month, an agreement on Ihumātao worth more than $30 million was touted to be imminent, with speculation the Government would buy the land under the Housing Act to avoid issues with the Treaty of Waitangi settlement process.

NZ First had publicly opposed using taxpayer funds to purchase the land, and when questioned on it, Mr Peters said that "there is no such deal.

"I'm opposed to busting Treaty of Waitangi settlements so that every past settlement is now being reopened - we need one standard of citizenship.

"People in this country are screaming out for a thing called equality," Mr Peters said.

"It's not paternalism and it's not big Government telling Māori they know what to do - it's not the Māori brown table creaming it off their own people while their people at the bottom get nothing."

Mr Peters then referenced Tame's knowledge of Te Reo.

"Don't say mm, mm, mm and speak Māori on TV and tell me as though you understand," Mr Peters said. 

"Tēnā koe," Tame said in response. 

During the interview, Tame also asked for details on NZ First policies, with the election exactly two months from today. 

Mr Peters listed previous policies and accomplishments, such as the reinvigoration of KiwiRail and the billion trees promise, as well as the stopping of light rail to Auckland Airport. 

"We are the only green party, in reality, in this Parliament because we put flesh around our dreams not just talk. That's what we've done," he said. 

It comes as the New Zealand First Convention and Campaign Launch takes place this weekend, with the party tweeting on policy proposals its members have voted for. 

Those included to "introduce legislation to ensure first world standards for plumbing and electrical compliance relevant to mobile tiny homes", as well as growing the NZ Defence Force to 20,000 uniformed staff over 10 years, and increasing the reservist count from 2000 to 6000 people.

NZ First also wants to remove an MP's personal vote on conscience issues and replace it with a binding referendum.

Tame also questioned Mr Peters over the progress of a trans-Tasman bubble, as Victoria hit 2608 active Covid-19 cases across the state.

Mr Peters said he and Tasmania's Premier   Peter Gutwein would be having a conversation in the next 24 hours, after Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated to Australian media on Friday he may be open to a state-by-state approach. 

"That was always the best place to open, Tasmania is as safe as New Zealand," Mr Peters said. 

"We could've gone to Tasmania a month ago."

"I know the populations are small but it'd be a test for, say, Queensland to join.

"Our problem is we're being stopped by the tragic failure of Australia ... unless we go state to country it won't work."

Watch the full interview above.