Peters backs off KiwiRail threat – for now

And Mr Peters reveals a 38-page addendum to the Coalition deal which has not yet been made public.

NZ First leader Winston Peters is poised to become SOE minister but he’s already backing away from his pre-election attack on one of the SOEs – KiwiRail.

At a media standup today, Mr Peters was asked if he would follow through on his pre-election promise to sack the whole KiwiRail board.

But the wily politician said that would be something to be addressed in the future – although he was critical of the KiwiRail  “as a whole.”

Asked about some of his successes during his last tenure in his new Foreign Affairs role under the Helen Clark Labour coalition, he said: “I expanded our relationship with East Asia.”

Mr Peters says the new government, in which he will also be deputy prime minister, understands both national and international affairs.

Asked about North Korea, he said he does not think it’s a hopeless case.

Under the coalition government, Mr Peters says there is a movement to understanding “our neighbourhood as our No 1 priority.”

Asked how he will deal with Trump administration, he said that was “in the province of the new prime minister.”

He expects to talk to Australia's Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop soon and said there is a way to work through the way Australia treats New Zealanders.

Meanwhile, Mr  Peters revealed there is a 38-page addendum to the coalition agreements that have already been publicly released. It will be released later, he said.

The document was a briefing to government ministers, laying out specific rules and processes over how they should address issues like accountability and media strategy while working as a cohesive government. 

Asked about small business concern over the coalition plan to raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour within four years, Mr Peters said  in modern business, people were "always changing, always modernising."

"We understand a business has to be profitable to pay its wages," he said. He said that was why tax incentives were planned for business.

New Zealand was a low-wage economy, he said. A higher wage regime would help productivity, which the government planned to focus on improving.

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