Audio courtesy of 95bfm.com report by Alastair Thompson
NZ Herald Columnist Fran O'Sullivan says Trade Minister Phil Goff and Prime Minister Helen Clark have been "muddying the waters" a little over what happened at APEC, events which have led to her being accused of treason by the Foreign Minister Winston Peters.
Having spoken to NZPA's Ian Llewellyn about how the story came out that Alexander Downer had issued a "please explain" message with regards to Mr Peters, Ms O'Sullivan suggested Phil Goff might be being a bit disingenuous in suggesting that the information was routine.
On Sunday at his Party Conference in Rotorua and yesterday on Radio New Zealand and in Scoop the newly appointed Foreign Minister Mr Peters accused Ms O'Sullivan and the NZ Herald of Treason over lies in its coverage of the APEC summit. (See background links below)
Prime Minister Helen Clark yesterday told media she would not have used the word "treason" in relation to the New Zealand Herald's coverage.
Asked by Scoop if Mr Peters could perhaps do with some media training the Prime Minister replied that this would be something for the Foreign Minister to decide.
In an interview today on BFM's Wire with Noelle McCarthy Ms O'Sullivan said she had been unaware of just how much Winston Peters had alienated the media in recent years. This was because she had not had much to do with him over the past 5 years during which she has been writing about Foreign Affairs.
As to whether coverage of Mr Peters domestic political position in relation to his appointment as Foreign Minister was appropriate for discussion at APEC, Ms O'Sullivan said that in the circumstances it was clearly a valid story for reporting.
Ms O'Sullivan told BFm Mr Peters's getting into slanging matches with the media at APEC was something he would need to learn to avoid.
"It's just not done. The other [Foreign] ministers don't do this sort of thing," she said.
Asked whether the Herald has the knives out for Mr Peters Ms O'Sullivan replied, "the thing with Winston is that he has got to grow up a bit."
Foreign Minister Winston Peters has challenged New Zealand Herald columnist and reporter Fran O'Sullivan to produce evidence and name the sources who told her he had raised the matter of improving NZ-US bilateral meetings with United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during his meeting with her at APEC. "I have four witnesses, what has she got," Mr Peters told Scoop by phone today. Mr Peters has accused the New Zealand Herald in general, and Fran O'Sullivan in particular, of treason through their reporting of "lies" about what transpired between himself and Condoleezza Rice at the recent APEC summit in Korea. See... Winston Peters Sticks By Herald Treason Allegation AND Winston Peters Accuses Fran O'Sullivan Of Treason