Winston Peters today wasted no time today after being sworn in taking a swipe at the waiting NZ media.
Cabinet will hold its first meetings this week, starting on Tuesday, during which Luxon plans to get the government’s plan for its first 100 days signed off.
Speaking after the ceremony, Winston Peters, who will be Luxon’s deputy for the next 18 months before handing over the role to ACT Party leader David Seymour, accused TVNZ and RNZ reporters of impartial journalism as a result of the government’s (PIJF) Public Interest Journalism Fund.
The government fund was set up around June 2020 – when Peters was also deputy prime minister – to support news media through the Covid-19-induced downturn, before closing in June 2023.
“You can’t defend $55m in bribery,” Peters said. “Get it very clear.”
The fund was set up during Covid, and a short time later Winston Peters was no longer in government after the 2020 election.
What the PIJF became during the 2nd term of Labour is an utter disgrace, and blot on the NZ media landscape that will never be forgotten.
“The $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund supported New Zealand’s media to continue to produce stories that kept New Zealanders informed and engaged, and support a healthy democracy. The $55 million package was made up of $10 million in 2020/21, $25 million in 2021/22 and $20 million in 2022/23”.
The bulk of the funds were distributed during year 2 & 3 of the last Labour Party term in government (2020 – 2023) with firstly Jacinda Ardern as PM, followed by Chris Hipkins.
The term of ‘support a healthy democracy’ could be nothing further from the truth.
Winston Peters is again calling it as it is, and is completely right.
The coming investigation into Covid, and the PIJF payments need to be reviewed company by company, project by project, invoice by invoice, line by line, and each and every journalist who was supported by the fund, and the stories they authored, need to be closely scrutinised, source and fact checked.
Thats no small job, but that needs to be undertaken so the NZ public can be kept safe from such biased, untruthful reporting by supposed leading media agencies in NZ.
‘You cant defend $55m in bribery’.