Winston Peters endorses Tracey Martin as children's minister

By Bronson Perich

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has maintained his support for Children's Minister Tracey Martin. 

"Tracey's had to confront controversy in her leadership of Oranga Tamariki," Winston Peters says.

"Could the system be better? Of course it could be!"

The deputy prime minister addressed NZ First members at their annual conference in the weekend. He completely rejects the notion that colonisation is a contributing factor to Māori abuse statistics.

"Colonisation is a fig leaf used to always evade taking responsibility for protecting our Māori young," Peters says.

Winston Peters endorsing Tracey Martin - Photo / File

As foreign minister, he didn't hesitate calling out National for making Aotearoa the lowest foreign aid contributor, in the OECD. He also took the opportunity to take credit for increasing foreign aid, that Aotearoa had sent to the Pacific.

"Hundreds of thousands of Pacific people need to know, in this country, that it's this government's foreign affairs response, that has stepped up to help their families and relations back home," Peters says.

Peters explains that NZ First is the only party that understands that foreign aid, is key, to securing the Pacific. But he did not specify the threats that aid protects Aotearoa from.

Former National Party leader Simon Bridges, speaking as newly appointed foreign affairs spokesperson for National totally denies the claims.

“Under the previous National Government, we increased Overseas Development Assistance by $200 million over the nine years," Simon Bridges says. 

"So what Winston Peters is claiming is misleading."

Bridges asserts that in 2015, the OECD's Development Assistance Committee found that Aotearoa delivered its aid effectively. Currently, Aotearoa contributes 0.27 per cent of Gross National Income per year to foreign aid.

The National Party spokesperson says that to match international trends, at 0.7 per cent of GNI, would cost an additional $1.17 billion per year.

Labour have yet to name a foreign affairs spokesperson.

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