Sir Bob Jones “Assuredly not racist” says Winston Peters chief of staff

By Heta Gardiner

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters' chief of staff Jon Johansson took to the stand today in the defamation case taken by Sir Bob Jones against filmmaker Renae Maihi.

Johansson spoke in defence of Sir Bob, saying the friend he has known for decades is, ‘assuredly not a racist’.

The day started with a bit of humour as Jon Johansson was asked if he was the chief of staff of Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, to which he answered with a smile, “As of this moment yes!”

A reference to the mounting pressure on the party over donation allegations from the New Zealand First Foundation. But he was clear in his support of Sir Bob Jones, stating, “He is assuredly not a racist”.

Johansson was the last witness on the stand this the third day of the Defamation trial against filmmaker Renae Maihi.

Maihi is being sued by Sir Bob Jones for defamation, after Maihi drafted a petition for Sir Bob Jones to have his Knighthood stripped. The petition was taken to Parliament, claiming that language used by Sir Bob Jones in a column were racist.

Maihi is expected to take the stand tomorrow.