Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Q+A: Winston Peters interviewed by Corin Dann

Q+A: Winston Peters interviewed by Corin Dann

Ethnicity matters – Winston Peters
‘I’m not against bringing the best-of-quality people here – about 10,000, which is what every smart economy does. I’m against mass immigration.’
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told Q+A mass immigration is happening in New Zealand without careful analysis of the costs and benefits.
“Where is the analytical, academic, logical work that says it’s good for New Zealand?”

When asked why it matters what ethnicity they are if they meet the entry requirements Mr Peters said, ‘it matters a lot.’

‘It matters as to what they believe. It’s whether they’ll support our laws, respect our human rights; respect our flag; respect our traditions; and above all have some understanding of the indigenous culture that we’ve got here and that we’ve been building up since 1840; and more importantly whether they think that women have the right to equality or not.’

CORIN Why don’t you name what the countries are?

WINSTON Well, you know which countries they are.

CORIN You name them.

WINSTON Saudi Arabia, for a start. You know the way women are treated in Saudi Arabia. And we’re over there bastardizing ourselves with a sheep deal that was an absolute disgrace–

CORIN The last time I Iooked, Mr Peters, Saudi Arabia didn’t have an awful lot of migrants coming in to New Zealand.

WINSTON Really? Well, you should look harder.

Please find the transcript attached and you can watch the full interview here.

Q+A, 9-10am Sundays on TVNZ 1 and one hour later on TVNZ 1 + 1. Repeated Sunday evening at 11:35pm. Streamed live at www.tvnz.co.nz

Thanks to the support from NZ On Air.

Q+A is on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/NZQandA#!/NZQandA and on Twitter, http://twitter.com/#!/NZQandA

Q + A
Episode 9
Interviewed by CORIN DANN

CORIN Welcome, Mr Peters, to the show. I wonder if I could start with immigration. You’ve got a 10,000 target. You’ve also talked in your speech this week about the pressures that mass migration is putting on infrastructure, particularly in Auckland. What would be the fastest way to cut that net number that’s currently at 70,000 back down to 10,000? What would be the quick way to do it?

WINSTON Apply the law that countless politicians say they are putting in place but have never followed. Where’s the English language test anymore? Where is the high-quality access to New Zealand through high-quality education and skills anymore? We brought in over 20,000 unskilled last year – just in one year.

CORIN So what-?

WINSTON Let me just say one thing. Look, I think we should stop this argument as though there’s a policy out there. You know, a policy implies careful analysis of cost and benefits, all sorts of research as to the advantages and disadvantages, and we’ve had none of that in this country. We’ve just had wholescale immigration as though it’s some sort of article of faith of globalism and telling people you just have to like it cos there’s no alternative. Where is the analytical, academic, logical work that says it’s good for New Zealand?

CORIN Where’s yours?

WINSTON Let me tell you. Don’t tell me that. I didn’t change the policy. I am for-

CORIN People are looking to you, Mr Peters, as a critic of it. You’ve got supporters there as well, and they want you to say how you’re going to do it.

WINSTON I’d like it like this – you ask the question, and I’m given a reasonable chance to answer. You don’t say to the person who is against it, ‘Where’s your policy?’ My policy is for low immigration, and high-skilled at that. I’m not against bringing the best-of-quality people here – about 10,000, which is what every smart economy does. I’m against mass immigration. The UK right now, 65 million is bringing in 100,000 as their target. We’ve got 72,000 for 4.7 million. I’m saying again I’m challenging all those proponents, and they are in economists and a lot people in the media and a whole lot of people on the right of politics to say this is all good, but they can’t show me one bit of analytical work that says for New Zealand, or for that matter, any country, this is good.

CORIN Sure. But economists such as Michael Ridell, the former Reserve Bank economist that was in support of you, says you’re right – that mass immigration hasn’t helped New Zealand. But what he’s looking for, and a lot of those who are starting to question mass migration, are ways to do it. The mechanics of it aren’t that simple, are they? Because if you simply raise the skill levels too high, we won’t be able to fill the skill shortages in key positions.

WINSTON You put your finger right on it. You don’t want a change. The thinking that says that doesn’t want a change from these high levels coming in. The first thing they say is, ‘Well, we can’t fill these low-skilled jobs.’ Excuse me. These are the people who have been saying we only bring in high-quality, high-skilled immigrants. Do you see the lie and the deceit that they’re perpetuating on the New Zealand people? And out there in the streets of Auckland and all over this country, there are massive infrastructural deficits that will take 15 to 20 years to fix up.

CORIN But how do you deal with it in the short-term?

WINSTON I’ll tell you what. The first thing you do – you do what that NZ First says. You cut back to bringing in people that we need, not people who need us. You make sure you’re bringing in the best of skills, which all the smart countries are doing, but you don’t try and artificially build up consumption by way of mass immigration as though somehow consumption and numbers works. Let me tell you – our population growth is at 2% on immigration alone. Our growth rate’s at about 2.8% to 3%. When you take out the 2% that you’ve got to even up of the population that’s coming in, so 2% of population growth taken up by population increases. Now we’re down way below the bottom half of the OECD in terms of growth. That ain’t what the National Party and all the right-wingers are telling us, is it?

CORIN So, do the cuts have to come from the Working Visa? 43,000, for example, that came in.

WINSTON Well, they come in from every area. For example, we know that universities, that people have been trained here for so-called skills and been allowed to stay – one in five – and they haven’t got any high-quality qualifications whatsoever. We know for example that export education in many parts of this country is a massive fraud.

CORIN So you’d cut student migration–?

WINSTON In the thousands. No, it’s not student migration. Export education, to be honest, goes like this. Our economy trains a student from somewhere else and gets paid by an economy from somewhere else to train that student here. It’s not an immigration programme, and that’s the perversity and distortion that’s going on and the dishonesty out there in this debate. And that’s why in the next few months, we’re going to clear this all up.

CORIN So, you’ve said that they wouldn’t be able to work for the 20 hours, those students who are here. Is that one of your policies?

WINSTON Well, not before a New Zealand student can get a job. We’ve got thousands and thousands of New Zealand students who can’t get a job; massive student loans coming out of university; with more debt. Look, without– This is the human circumstance and what’s going to be the key thing in this election. You’ve got thousands of New Zealand students that can’t get a job in a high-rent environment. Who are they competing with? Offshore students who are having much of their education now paid for by not their economy, which is the efficacy of export education; it’s being paid for by ours.

CORIN Are you going to tell the New Zealand public in some detail how you will reduce that immigration number? Give us a concrete policy.

WINSTON I’ve just told you I’m the only party that has said anything about that. We say we want 10,000 a year, which is a very high target.

CORIN I’m not hearing details of how you will do it.

WINSTON Oh, you’ll get the detail, and the first of these details is – if you’ve got to pass an English language test, you’ll pass it. If you’re going to come in with a qualification, you’ll prove it. If you make an undertaking, you will keep it. We’re going to make sure that, for example, if people come here and they go to go to the regions, they will stay in the regions for at least five years. This is not difficult. Look, overseas countries handle this with the greatest of ease. The dysfunction of New Zealand is the dishonesty of so many components of high immigration whilst they tell the people that they don’t believe in it and, more importantly, that it’s all so economically and socially good for you.

CORIN You said in your speech this week that immigration is about ethnicity. Why?

WINSTON (CHUCKLES) Well, it’s where you come from is determines that you’re an immigrant. Do you know what an immigrant is?


WINSTON I’ll tell you what an immigrant is. It’s not like all these defenders say – that we’re all immigrants. An immigrant is someone living legally in a country not of his or her birth. Therefore, it’s about ethnicity. Where do they come from?

CORIN I thought it was about numbers and pressure on infrastructure. What does it matter where they come from if they meet English requirement tests? What does it matter what ethnicity they are?

WINSTON Well, it matters a lot.


WINSTON It matters as to what they believe. It’s whether they’ll support our laws, respect our human rights; respect our flag; respect our traditions; and above all have some understanding of the indigenous culture that we’ve got here and that we’ve been building up since 1840; and more importantly whether they think that women have the right to equality or not.

CORIN I don’t think people would disagree with you, Mr Peters. But why does it matter what ethnic or what race they are if they meet all those requirements?

WINSTON Well, a lot of people from some of those countries don’t meet any of those requirements because they don’t think that–

CORIN Which countries?

WINSTON They don’t think that women are equal. You know the number of countries, not to point who they are, who treat women like cattle. You know that. And you’ve got a whole lot of people on the left who call themselves feminists who are too scared to say a word about it. Well, I’m not and nor is my party.

CORIN Why don’t you name what the countries are?

WINSTON Well, you know which countries they are.

CORIN You name them.

WINSTON Saudi Arabia, for a start. You know the way women are treated in Saudi Arabia. And we’re over there bastardizing ourselves with a sheep deal that was an absolute disgrace–

CORIN The last time Iooked, Mr Peters, Saudi Arabia didn’t have an awful lot of migrants coming in to New Zealand.

WINSTON Really? Well, you should look harder.

CORIN I think you should have this debate yourself–

WINSTON (LAUGHS) I think you should look harder.

CORIN I think we can see that, obviously, UK, China and India are at the top.

WINSTON You asked for an example, and I gave you one. Are you going to dispute it?

CORIN No. Nope, that’s fine.

WINSTON Excellent.

CORIN You’ve also criticised in the last week or so journalists who are migrants, economists from the think tank, the New Zealand Initiative, questioning why they are in favour of mass immigration. Do you think if you’re a migrant, you don’t get to be involved in this debate?

WINSTON Excuse me, if you’re going to write, as Lincoln Tan has for the last 20 years, about the racism of New Zealand, and the white racism at that, I think it’s a bit late for him to say, ‘Oh, you shouldn’t have mentioned that I’m an immigrant.’

CORIN Well, let’s put that aside. What about the New Zealand Initiative?

WINSTON The New Zealand Initiative is loaded up with immigrants that have come here 10 years or less, some of them. And it’s hardly likely that an immigrant trying to lead an intellectual think tank from the far right’s going to say, ‘I’m here, and immigration’s bad.’

CORIN But do they not have a legitimate point of view?

WINSTON No, no. No.

CORIN You’re saying that they can’t have that view because they’re a migrant.

WINSTON I didn’t say that at all. Look, Matthew Hooton’s hardly a Winston Peters supporter, but he said, ‘They started it, not Winston Peters.’

CORIN You said, ‘…which begs the question – is an immigrant likely to say their presence in New Zealand is not a good thing for the New Zealand people?’

WINSTON Well, that’s a common sense, logical thing to say. Now, where did the New Zealand Initiative say, ‘We’re all immigrants, and we think this is a good idea’? Never said it at all.

CORIN But, Mr Peters, one in four New Zealanders are not born in New Zealand.

WINSTON Well, what’s your point?

CORIN Half a million Aucklanders are not born in New Zealand. They’re migrants! And you seem to be saying they don’t have a view in this debate.

WINSTON The way this interview is going – and you’re going to lose it – in this campaign–

CORIN I’m not trying to win a debate.

WINSTON Yes, you are, because you’re chipping away and trying to make out a defence. The founding principle of New Zealand First when we started in 1993 was that we always would believe in sound immigration, that immigration is good for the gaps and skills you haven’t got in your society, but that it should never be used as an excuse for failing to train, educate and employ your own people first. We’ve got to make sure we’re not misunderstood in this campaign.

CORIN My point, Mr Peters, is that you have supporters. There are a number of people across the media and economists who agree with you that mass immigration is causing some real problems for New Zealand.

WINSTON I’ve got a lot of new immigrations who support me as well.

CORIN But if you raise the issue of ethnicity and question where journalists come from and where economists come from, don’t you denigrate your argument? Because the people you’re arguing with say that you’re a racist.

WINSTON You’ve made that point out before, but I’m afraid these are the people that have been attacking me year on, year in, year out, saying I’m racist. All I’m saying is why don’t you put your cards on the table? You know where I’m coming from.

CORIN You want them to attack you, don’t you?

WINSTON No, I don’t.

CORIN That’s a strategy. You want them to attack you.

WINSTON In the Sunday Herald today – I’m giving them a free advertisement right now – there is a journalist, not very far away from you, who’s attacking me for attacking the media.

CORIN But you want that. That’s your media exposure, isn’t it?

WINSTON Excuse me. He’s not even logical enough to work out that when I went to this meeting and held up his article, he was the one that attacked me. I go along with his article, saying, ‘Look at this attack upon me,’ and he says I’m attacking the media. They can’t even get the first rudimentary things of logic right.

CORIN You want it, though. You went along to that speech and held up your newspaper columns. You’re running a Trump line here. You want to create and ‘us and them’ point toward the media.

WINSTON Corin, it’s a very good try, but verbosity and repetitive nonsense does not win an argument. Let me just say this to you – what article did I hold up? A full-page attack on me by this writer. Now, aren’t I entitled to defend myself?

CORIN You are.

WINSTON Well, what is pristine and pure and logical about your argument? The answers nothing.

CORIN No, I’m just questioning whether that’s something you want; whether you’re trying to create the rhetoric in the debate here because you’re just looking for oxygen in election year.

WINSTON You know that I’m notoriously the mildest man in parliament, and I don’t like being attacked.

CORIN (CHUCKLES) All right, let’s move on.

WINSTON Especially when I’ve got a winning argument.

CORIN Well, we’ll let the viewers be the judge of that.

WINSTON But, yes, I’d like it. Thank you very much. That’s what I want.

CORIN That’s all I’m asking for as well.

WINSTON I’m sick of journalists and all sorts of commentaries editorialising and saying what I said, but they never tell people what I said.

CORIN Fair enough. Let's go back to 2000–

WINSTON There’s enough in this campaign already.

CORIN Let’s go back to 2005, in Rotorua, where you gave a pretty famous speech about your– You were being harried by media - probably like myself, because I was there - about who you were going to go with in 2005. And you stood up and said, ‘According to constitutional convention, the party which gains the most seats is the party which must first try and form a government. We will support this constitutional convention in the first instance.’ Can you give New Zealanders an assurance that that’s your position today and come September 24th?

WINSTON All it means is what I said. ‘In the first instance’, that’s what you’d expect to happen, not just in this country but in every country. However, it’s only the first instance. It’s not a binding rule that says ‘In this first instance, this is clearly going to fail, therefore we should look elsewhere. That’s all it means.

CORIN Do you– Is everything on the table? Is the so-called crossed benches, where you don’t support any particular government? Everything’s on the table?

WINSTON Everything should be on the table in the same way that in a supporting arrangement or whatever you do in life or whether you’re in business. You need to consider everything before you make a decision, not just half the things on which you should make a decision.

CORIN What about– If, as you say, the polls are wrong and you storm into the high teens--?

WINSTON You know they’re wrong.

CORIN Let’s leave that debate to the next--

WINSTON No, no, no. TV1 reproduces poll after poll which are gibberish.

CORIN Okay, let’s assume you’re right, Mr Peters.

WINSTON No, don’t--

CORIN Okay, you’re right.

WINSTON Excuse me, let me stop right now. You have a political scientist right here at the minute. You look at all the polls six months out from the election, the last four elections about what New Zealand First got on election day versus what they got six months out.

CORIN I agree. You tend to do very well in campaigns.

WINSTON Well, why don’t you say so, rather than put your flaky polls out there and mislead the public?

CORIN Because that’s a snapshot of right now. I agree that you do well in campaigns and that you may well be--

WINSTON Maybe your methodology is wrong. Maybe your polling methodology is wrong. Have you ever thought of that?

CORIN No, I don’t think it is, but let’s move on.

WINSTON Well, there you go. You’re an expert.

CORIN I think– If you’re in the high teens and in a position where you’re strong compared to, say, a weak Labour, is there a case to say that a prime minister could come from the smaller of the two parties?

WINSTON I don’t know why you’re saying that, but in 1932, that’s exactly what happened, a long time before MMP, and Prime Minister Forbes became a Prime Minister from the second-highest party.

CORIN And was that a successful exercise?

WINSTON In the middle of the Great Depression worldwide, it wasn’t the easiest time to govern, plus worse than that, he had the sort of view of some persons of economic theory in New Zealand. He so retrenched the country that they had 10% deflation, and people in their thousands were in misery and degradation.

CORIN The point is, though, that is that’s been done before, so it shouldn’t be seen as something that’s radical. So the New Zealand public should be open to that idea?

WINSTON I don’t know why we’re having this– Why are we having this discussion?

CORIN Because people on the street are looking and saying, ‘Hey, New Zealand First might be in government, and maybe Winston wants to be prime minister.’

WINSTON Look, I’m walking down– I travel the country more extensively than most. I have more meetings with the ordinary people. Nobody starts with--

CORIN Some of those people who support you want you to be prime minister.

WINSTON Nobody stops me in the street and says, ‘Winston, are you going to do a Forbes?’ No one has ever asked me that. I thought I’d be on here talking about the most explosive economic policy this country needs and about the social consciousness this country has lost and capitalism being returned with a human face.

CORIN Let’s talk about it, then.

WINSTON None of the chances I’ve had in this debate– in this discussion this morning.

CORIN Let’s quickly talk about that, then. I’m guessing that is a reform of the Reserve Bank.

WINSTON Precisely.

CORIN And how far would you go? Would you actually adopt the model used in Singapore, where they had–?

WINSTON Yes, I would.

CORIN You’d adopt that?

WINSTON Lee Kuan Yew is so much smarter– Those Singaporeans are so much smarter than the so-called experts in this country. They’ve got a system that works for a country the size of Lake Taupo, a population of 5.7 million.

CORIN So they– So just for viewers, they don’t have an interest– an official cash rate. They effectively set interest rates by moving the currency.

WINSTON By the major trading partners. A ceiling and a floor.

CORIN So what would be--?

WINSTON They run the currency for Singapore. We run our currency for the rest of the world.

CORIN Yes, this is the point I want to get to. What would be an acceptable currency band for New Zealand? I mean, it’s currently 68 cents US. Just give me an idea of where that should be to drive the export growth that you talk about?

WINSTON Well, the IMF and others say that our dollar is overvalued against the real factors. Well, they say that. Why for 20 years would you just ignore it?

CORIN But I want to know– Can you tell an exporter– Because there are consequences. What’s 60 cents? 55?

WINSTON You can’t set a criteria– You can’t set a criteria independent of a politician’s and Minister of Finance and Prime Minister and then start saying where it should be, but where I say it will be is much lower than it is now, and more in tune to an export-dependent economy.

CORIN The OCR– We’ve got to go– But the OCR would be gone. You would put in a system where we move the currency to set interest rates? That’s how they do it in Singapore.

WINSTON That’s right.

CORIN Thank you very much, Mr Peters, must appreciated.

Transcript provided by Able. www.able.co.nz

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Covid-19: Covid Alert Level 2 in Wellington till the end of the week

The Wellington region will move to alert level 2 from 6pm tonight until 11.59pm on Sunday.
The announcement comes after a person who travelled from Sydney to Wellington tested positive for the virus upon their return.... More>>



Environment: Bringing Back The Health Of Hauraki Gulf

New marine protection areas and restrictions on fishing are among a raft of changes being put in place to protect the Hauraki Gulf for future generations.
The new strategy, Revitalising the Gulf – Government action on the Sea Change Plan, released today... More>>


NZ First Returns: Winston Peters - AGM Address

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to be in Auckland for the 28th New Zealand First Party Conference. It is our intention and mission to remain the most successful political party outside of National and Labour in the last three decades... More>>

Government: New Members Appointed To Waitangi Tribunal

Minister for Māori Development, Hon Willie Jackson, today announced the appointment of three new members to the Waitangi Tribunal and the reappointment of one existing member to the Waitangi Tribunal... More>>

NZNO: Nurses Reject DHB Offer And Confirm Strike Action

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation says its 30,000 members who work in DHBs have voted overwhelmingly to reject a second offer in their current round of multi-employer collective agreement (MECA) negotiations... More>>





InfoPages News Channels