Chinese-language media labels Winston Peters 'old naughty'

Winston Peters.
Winston Peters. Photo credit: Getty

A translation of some New Zealand Chinese-language media has revealed Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters being referred to as "old naughty".

A Google search shows the term 老皮 or Lǎo pí has been used various times in relation to Peters, including commonly by NZME's Chinese Herald.

The term can roughly translate to "old skin", "old leather" or even "old naughty".

One recent article using the term is about Peters' trip to Turkey following the Christchurch terror attack and his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the livestream of the shooting.

"Laopi did not formally asked Erdogan to refrain from spreading the video", the article said. The article also mentions the term in its headline and as one of its tags.

An anonymous letter sent to Chinese expert Anne-Marie Brady highlighting the language was given by Brady to the Justice Select Committee earlier this month as part of an inquiry into foreign interference.

The letter, cited by Newsroom and which will be made public by the Justice Select Committee on Thursday, was also translated by Brady.

In comments on the translation, Brady said 老皮 was a "colloquial nickname commonly used in the New Zealand Chinese language media to refer to the Right Hon Winston Peters".

"The phrase could be interpreted as insulting and pejorative. It is certainly not the correct transliteration of Mr Peters' name in Chinese."

Brady spoke with several colleagues and speakers of Chinese to assist with the translation.

The editor in chief of the Chinese Herald, Kenny Lu, told Newsroom that the term did not "rise concerns of disrespect" and were not value judgements.

"I've seen local Chinese community use this term to call Mr Winston Peters for more than two decades and yet not in one circumstance does the name itself raise concerns of disrespect."

Pí also had the same pronunciation as the opening sound of Peters, but was shorter than the official translation.

Peters told Newshub he had been advised the translation was not derogatory.

"I have been advised the Lao Pi translation is not derogatory, but there is a wise old Chinese saying that a man sits at open window with his mouth open for a very long time before a roast duck flies in."


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