Winston Peters offers Pacific funding boost

Winston Peters is refusing to say if a funding boost to the Pacific is an attempt to combat Chinese influence. The Foreign Affairs Minister has set aside $714 million in aid over the next four years.

He says New Zealanders should understand that future economic and security issues will be governed by this investment.

"Our country would be so much worse off. If you look at it internationally, most New Zealanders understand that we've got to play a role and pull our weight," he told Newshub.

"They would be aghast to find how much was removed from Foreign Affairs over the last nine years."

It comes after former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton warned of Chinese efforts to gain political power and influence policy decisions in New Zealand and the Pacific region.

"Experts are sounding the alarm about Chinese efforts to gain political power and influence policy decisions. And it's just getting started," she said in Auckland on Monday.

"Anne-Marie Brady of the University of Canterbury has rightly called this a new global battle. And it is just getting started. And we need to take it seriously."

Mr Peters says there are a number of influences building up in the Pacific and New Zealand has a role to play alongside Australia.

"The British have talked to us about it, the French have as well," he says.

"It just happens to be a happy combination of events that we've got renewed focus on the Pacific just when we need it."

Another $200 million in funding will also be going to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mr Peters says the situation is bad, with 100 front line diplomats lost over the years. He says he will be contesting for more funding after next week's budget.


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