Foreign Minister Winston Peters Accuses NZ Herald's Fran O'Sullivan Of Treason
By Alastair Thompson
In a speech yesterday at his Party's annual conference Foreign Minister Winston Peters accused the New Zealand Herald of Treason. This morning he repeated the allegations on National Radio's Morning report adding that the alleged treasonous conduct had been by a "Herald columnist". It is clear the columnist in question is Fran O'Sullivan.
Winston Peters: The New Zealand Herald is a treasonous newspaper. That when they are challenged at a conference to outline the facts behind a matter of dispute. Haven't got the integrity to actually publish what I said. I asked them to say why they are backing a columnist who was never at any meeting. Who was never at the meeting with Condoleezza Rice but nevertheless maintains that she is right and I am wrong and which public jury would put up with a witness who was never at the scene of the event.
RNZ's Sean Plunket: We have been reading the 1961 Crimes Act, section 73 on treason. It wouldn't see that writing nasty stuff about you actually ads up to treason Mr Peters?
Winston Peters: When you go abroad and your objective is to go and re-litigate with a whole lot of foreign personalities and even Ministers of Foreign Affairs from abroad the New Zealand political situation - rather than deal with Avian Flu, the pandemic… the plan to deal with the pandemic outcomes, with tsunamis and terrorism. Which is what this APEC conference is about, when you talk about the health of 21 economies – then you've got no purpose of being there.
And more importantly when you weren't at any meeting, and I went to every one of them, then how can you be trusted to be reporting the truth.
Listen to Winston Peters interview with Sean Plunket of National Radio this morning – link to streaming http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/mnr/winston_peters2
According to the Herald report on yesterday's speech [LINK]:
After a troubled first international outing at Apec in South Korea, Mr Peters told his New Zealand First party faithful that he had been misreported over the suggested content of a discussion with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Further, he had had to endure the Herald "and its editorial writer writing day-in and day-out attacks on someone whose job it is to image [sic] and represent this country abroad on foreign policy. There's a word for that and it starts with T - it's treason", he said, adding a conditional rider: "It is when it is lies."
While Winston Peters is not accepting calls this morning and his spokespeople do not know to whom he is referring in particular it is clear the target of his ire is a journalist with whom he has long crossed swords and occasionally worked alongside, Fran O'Sullivan.
An award winning investigative journalist and former National Business Review Editor Fran O'Sullivan has been reporting from the APEC summit for the Herald. She previously championed the Wine Box case alongside Winston Peters through the 1990s.
The original report by Fran O'Sullivan that seems likely to have raised the Foreign Minister's ire is viewable at.
Peters meets Rice over US ties
By Fran O'Sullivan
PUSAN - Foreign Minister Winston Peters made a pitch for closer bilateral relations with the United States in a brief meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at Apec yesterday.
Mr Peters was not available last night to expand on his opportunistic meeting which took place just after a formal photograph was taken of the foreign and trade ministers at their retreat session in South Korea.
His first big outing as foreign minister had earlier come a public cropper when he was made to look a fool after his predecessor Phil Goff revealed the Australian Government had issued a "please explain" over his role.
Mr Peters' snappy performance at a later interview with New Zealand journalists - which he walked out of - and Mr Goff's open sledging, stopped the new foreign minister from publicly chalking-up his first minor diplomatic success: a commitment from Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer to put in a good word for New Zealand at joint US-Australian ministerial talks in Sydney over the next two days.
For a politician who just this week had told a Hong Kong newspaper, "I'm there to win the world over to my country's cause ... and want to portray my country in the best way I possibly can" this first Apec meeting as foreign minister was not an unmitigated success.