Jacinda Ardern has not yet had her baby – though check here for the very latest – but deputy prime minister Winston Peters has nevertheless assumed her set-piece duties. And how Winstonianly has he assumed them? Here are some examples from the almost-prime-minister’s answers to questions across the last 24 hours, drawn from the post-cabinet press conference, his morning interviews, including with RNZ, Newstalk ZB and Newshub, and this afternoon’s parliamentary question time.
“Well, what’s wrong with that? If that’s your major issue on 18 June 2018, well, I’m happy to answer it. Or maybe it’s because you care about me; I don’t know. But let me just say, I want to keep my promise.”
“I’m not giving you my comment on that. But I do believe in a thing called commercial accountability, as we also believe in political and journalistic accountability.”
“No, no. No, no. No, no. There’s no need for you to go into a fit of gloom and doom at this point in time.”
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Stop right, stop right there. Stop right there.”
“No, look, look, this is just now speculating on what neither you or I or anybody else, including the experts, could possibly prognosticate this far out.”
“Look, I think that we’ve covered the subject as comprehensively as we can possibly do it.”
“Look, I’ve answered all those questions. I’ll see you next time.”
“This is my last answer. I’m answering up there, not over here like your style, and I said that I’d take the advice of my staff and they’ve given it to me. And that’s why I’m here.”
“Can I finish? Can I finish? Look, Ms Ferguson, you’ll do much better if you listened for a second.”
“You have to listen when I’m being interviewed, if you don’t mind.”
“You’ll have to be more precise in your questions to get a definitive answer, with the greatest respect.”
“Look, with respect, we’ve all got different views about it.”
“With respect, again, one of you people talked about me being paid by the taxpayer to bring this case. That kind of journalistic laziness is really intolerable.”
“The basis of that question is unadulterated nonsense.”
“If you’re going to begin with a whole lot of conclusions and phrase them as questions, we’re going to get nowhere on this show. If you want to ask what happened, I’ll tell you. Now which course of action do you prefer to take?”
“Why are you wasting the people’s time on this programme if you want to go back to your regime of allegations by way of questions?”
“Fonterra’s losses … are something we should be questioning. And I wish you people would do far more of that rather than just come out as attack dogs against those who raise legitimate protest.”
“If you are going to ask questions back it up with some certainty.”
“Your last statement is demonstrably false.”
“It’s axiomatic that GDP will be higher, regardless of how he assembled that question.”
“That is unadulterated rubbish.”
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“Any state of the kind the leader of the opposition is making is demonstrably false … So get up and apologise.”
“I’m surprised you’re asking. I thought you knew everything.”
“Why would you make a statement like that? Try and be neutral and unbiased.”
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