Winston Peters’ political opponents may need to take tips from one Taupō man, who pulled off the rare political feat of stumping the NZ First leader, momentarily at least, with a question about his smoking habit.
At the conclusion of his lake-side media stand-up, Peters, who was recently caught smoking on the smokefree Otago University campus, was confronted by a man in a red beanie.
“Don’t tell me you’re going to start up smoking. I saw you smoking on TV,” the man tells Peters.
Video of the exchange shows the pair engage in a brief back-and-forward over whether it was a question or statement, before Peters finally responds.
“If I was (smoking), it’s my business, it’s a freedom issue mate,” Peters replies.
“I didn’t come along and ask you what you’re doing lately.”
“It’s bad though,” the man replies.
“Yeah I know it’s bad, and our job is to make sure New Zealanders get off it, there are sound plans to do that, very shortly, in two hours’ time, I’ll unveil our plan in Tūrangi.”
“In front of your cuzzies down there.”
“I hope you don’t do it again,” the man replies, getting in a rare last word as well.
The man then snapped a selfie to mark the conversation.
NZ First later put out a statement, backing ASH's strategy to make alternatives to smoking affordable and widely available.
“New Zealand First will lower tobacco excise so that the average pack of cigarettes is no more than $20, remove tax from smoking cessation tools, and put a stop to the belief that what we’re doing is working,” said Mr Peters.