Winston Peters makes false claim Government bribed media just after becoming Deputy PM

A new Government was sworn in and the old Winston Peters turned up, accusing the outgoing Government of bribing the media and issuing an indirect edict to state broadcasters to stop using te reo Māori.   

The Coalition Government takes force from Monday and has promised to cut the use of Māori across the public service. But it was National and ACT that passed the 2016 law urging the public service to use Te Reo in the first place.   

The incoming ministers arrived at Government House in Wellington, belted out the national anthem, and then one by one took the oath of allegiance.   

Aotearoa's native tongue was weaved throughout the ceremony, but with a new administration comes a change of direction - and a backward step in terms of te reo Māori.  

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said Te Reo is fantastic and "we want to encourage people to use more Te Reo".  

"But what we are saying very clearly with respect to government departments is we want people to navigate their government," said Luxon.  

Despite both National and ACT voting for the 2016 Māori Language Bill, which stated the Māori language should be used in the promotion of government services, the coalition is set to order all public service departments to change their names to English and communicate in English too.  

Asked how quickly that could happen, Luxon said: "We will work that through." 

"We have got our first Cabinet meeting tomorrow. We have got a second Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Our focus for this week is to prepare our 100-day plan of action."  

The incoming Government which campaigned on cutting government waste has no idea of the cost.  

"I don't have costings on that right now but that is a Government policy that will be worked through in the coming weeks, I suspect," said Minister for Regulation David Seymour.  

"I'll continue to use 'kia ora' on a daily basis," said Minister for Māori-Crown Relations Tama Potaka.  

It's also unclear how far that remit stretches, whether it's just agencies like Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand and the transport agency, Waka Kotahi, or Crown entities like our national museum Te Papa, for instance.  

Newshub asked Luxon if he would rename Te Papa.  

"What we have said is, look, where there are Māori-facing agencies, they should stay in Te Reo," he said.   

So could he change the name of Te Papa?  

"We will work that out in Government as to what we are going to do," Luxon said.  

Winston Peters said: "What is the difference between that and Waka Kotahi? Tell me this: How many boats have you ever seen gone down the road?"  

The sense of the occasion was perhaps lost on Peters who minutes after swearing to be a true and faithful Deputy Prime Minister launched straight back to form.  

He turned our question about his Te Reo policy into a direction to the state-owned broadcasters - TVNZ and RNZ.    

Asked how quickly he expected government departments or agencies to remove Te Reo, he replied: "Well we will see the speed in which TVNZ and RNZ, which are taxpayer-owned, understand this new message."  

When it was put to Peters that they are independent, Peters said he had "never seen evidence" of that over the past three years.  

He also outlandishly and incorrectly claimed the Government had bribed the media through the public interest journalism fund.  

"You cannot defend $55 million of bribery. You cannot defend $55 million of bribery. Get it very clear," said Peters.  

His new boss was completely unaware of his 2IC's antics. He was just stoked to be part of the occasion.  

"I really enjoyed today. It genuinely is just an awesome responsibility. I think the ceremony is incredibly weighty, that every minister understands the responsibility they have," said Luxon.  

The responsibility of running a country.