Inside Winston Peters' brain with Paddy Gower

  • 19/09/2017

Newshub's Patrick Gower has attempted to get inside Winston Peters' brain and figure out what shapes his political views, while on board the 'straight talk express'. 

He asked the New Zealand First leader in a Facebook live chat "How does your political brain work? How do you identify and get the feeling, and how do you get the vibe of the electorate? Is that just something that is innate in your brain basically?"

Mr Peters said it's not innate, but it comes from experience and by thinking about people in "the rest of country".

"It's experience because you realise what is likely to affect people or concern them when they see it. You'll get a different perception if you're sitting in one group of people, but if you're thinking what will the rest of the country see of this - then their perception will be totally different.

"They won't be often reasonable about it, they won't be logical about it, they will be instinctively though, right about it. And that's the key to understand where you're going to fall on this issue."

When asked if it was a combination of instinct and gut experience Mr Peters said "But all our instincts are honed by years and years of ancestral experience." 

Mr Gower told the New Zealand First leader it's often difficult to predict what stand he will take on a particular issue. 

"I would've hated to have played rugby against you because you would have been a slippery little bugger," he said.

"Politically you've got a lot of moves, you can throw a dummy, you can kick for touch, you can bang a drop goal and I just don't know which one you're going to pull out. Sometimes you can actually throw a forward pass as well but you never admit it."

Mr Peters responded with a few analogies: "Here's the point here: it's like watching a horse with four legs because if you're watching a horse with four legs or an issue with four sort of elements to it you've got to know all four... watching an octopus that's got eight elements and if you've missed about three of them one of those three is the one that you're going to get exposed on. So you've got to think that way and you've got to think you know I'm driving a car, I'm Geoff driving this bus, I've got to know what's round the next corner and politics is like that. Otherwise you find you're constantly as I see some people doing, they go u-turn after u-turn and sometimes where they come down on an issue doesn't last 24 hours. That's bad."

As the interview came to an end Mr Peters was asked how he's coping with the campaign and how he stays energetic. He issued the following health advice:

"Don't eat rubbish, eat food that's seriously good for you. High protein, low carbohydrate, Don't drink coffee after half past one in the afternoon and stick to a seriously good diet and make sure you get not long hours of sleep but you get enough sleep." 

The New Zealand First leader said he's offered to compete in a running race against Steven Joyce, Gerry Brownlee and Paula Bennett. "Even though I promise to give them a quarter of the distance start, they won't front up."