UK Independence Party firebrand Nigel Farage plans to meet comrade-in-arms Winston Peters in NZ. Anti-globalism, he says, is more than "a one-off, short outburst of anger".
Winston Peters has a devotee in Nigel Farage.
The bad-boy of Brexit is visiting New Zealand later this year, and is earnest about renewing a friendship forged with the NZ First leader over sport.
They caught up just a few weeks ago when Peters was in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. "We thought we'd go to the cricket for the afternoon, so that's exactly what we did," Farage chuckles.
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Commentators here regularly point out that they are kindred spirits. Self-proclaimed ordinary men who have shifted the centre of gravity in politics. Politicians who relish their maverick facade and rage against the establishment while draining the taxpayer purse for decades. Unabashed anti-immigrant, nationalist populists.
Analysts trying to make sense of the anti-establishment currents lapping at our shores also like to draw parallels with Donald Trump. Farage readily accepts the comparison.
"Winston Peters runs a dynamic political movement which is very much in line with what happened with the Brexit result, what happened with the Trump result, with the Austrian elections, the Hungarian elections and more recently the Italian elections."
On the eve of his ascension to acting Prime Minister, Peters might not appreciate the collation with Europe's flourishing far right-wing. But Farage warms to his theme.
"There is a new dynamic sweeping the developed world politically. People have had enough of globalism, they've had enough of the giant multinational's ruining our lives," said Farage, who gigs as a paid commentator on Rupert Murdoch's Fox News empire.
"I was very much aware of what he was trying to do and I have always had great sympathy with it."
It's difficult to interrupt Farage, full-flow. But I gently point out that Peters has entered Government with two left-wing parties.
"On the face of it, it is very surprising. But a thinking-through politician does what he thinks will achieve the best goal and he has done it for the right reasons."
SNOW, TURKEYS AND CHRISTMAS
You can't keep a good Farage argument down with facts. Earlier this year he proclaimed that snow disproves global warming. He dismisses very real fears about Brexit and Northern Ireland's fragile peace as "rubbish."
Peters, he says, is part of the new global, anti-globalist movement. But Peters has been in politics since the late seventies. "Well, it took me 25 years," Farage replies.
That National, the status quo party, won the popular vote in last year's election seems to have largely escaped Farage. His September speaking tour will focus on the future momentum of his political movement.
"The argument I shall make when I am in New Zealand is that the revolution of 2016 with Brexit and Trump wasn't just a one-off, short outburst of anger. It is actually part of a global trend and in my view you ain't see nothing yet."
There is no question that Farage shook up world politics by winning the campaign to take the UK out the European Union. He left a prestigious London school for a career as a metals trader in the City. A disciple of Thatcher, he was initially active in the Conservative party, but quit in disgust in the early 1990s when the government signed the Maastricht Treaty. A founding member of the euro-sceptic UK Independence Party, he's been a member of the European Parliament since 1994.
That run – and his $172,000-a-year salary – will come to an end next March, if Britain leaves the EU, as planned.
"If Brexit happens then I will be the turkey that voted for Christmas and I will be out and if Brexit doesn't then obviously I will contest the next European elections."
'BREXIT IN NAME ONLY'
So far the withdrawal is not going well, and Farage agrees Theresa May's Conservative Government is making a bit of a mess of it. "She is going through the motions ... without ever actually believing in what she is doing and it is going very very badly.
"I still think we will get there but I suspect it will be Brexit in name only and there will be many more battles to fight in the years to come."
Farage loathes the European Union and the "grey men" of Brussels. He sees the institution as a puppet of a corporate-controlled "high global order."
"The giant, corporate, global businesses effectively own the political class, shape the world, in their own interests ... that's the globalism I'm fighting . And in many many ways the European Union is the global prototype."
At this point, I lose him. The sheer volume at which he talks distorts his words as they come through his phone's speaker.
It's something about a "one-world government" and "one world currency." And billionaire activist George Soros is mentioned.
I pick up the conversation again at Hillary Clinton, who "talks about America joining a hemispheric common market. This is a battle, this is a battle for what is the building block that people will pay their allegiance to."
There's no chance to clarify, as he bellows. "Is it this new concept of a global citizen with total freedom to move and go and live in other countries? Or is it based around the concept of the nation state, and that is the centre of all of this whether it is Winston Peters arguing for it in New Zealand or whether it is President Trump arguing for it in America."
SORRY, NEW ZEALAND
Farage regularly returns to Peters as a theme. This week European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström visits Wellington to start free trade deal negotiations with his Government. Should we not bother, I wonder?
"I think you should be pursuing one with the United Kingdom once we have left the European Union's grip. But of course we do have one or two apologies to give to you for what happened back in 1973."
He's repeating an apology made to radio's Mike Hosking back in 2016 for Britain joining the Common Market in 1973. "We turned our backs on you," he explained then.
However, he won't be making any apologies for colonialism. "We can't apologise for our entire history. Yeah, some horrible things happened but please don't think Britain is the only guilty party. Look at the history of France and Spain and we haven't even mentioned Germany."
There will also be no mea culpa over allegations his Leave.EU campaign colluded with Moscow. On the evening we speak, he's been deflecting claims that Arron Banks, a major funder of the Brexit campaign, had repeated contact with Russian officials.
"Not a single shred of evidence of financial impropriety or anything else," he says. "The whole thing is a witch-hunt being dug up and exploited as much as it can be by the establishment who want to reverse Brexit and they are trying to find an excuse. The whole thing is laughable and the public are getting bored of this and giving it a collective yawn."
The questions do make him a bit tetchy. "Why not ask me if I committed murder last Thursday, why not ask whether I robbed a bank? It is just completely baseless allegations."
Better to stick to safer ground then: Winston Peters. He hopes for a meeting on his fleeting visit. Farage has never been to either Australia or New Zealand.
"Personality is back," he says with a long, wheezy laugh. "In Winston Peters you've got an example of it and certainly America has got one too.
"It's bringing the qualities of entrepreneurship to politics. So many of our politicians are careerists. People who go straight from university into politics.
"The first rule of these people is don't take risks. if you don't take risks then you don't do anything whereas the entrepreneur says right, lets 'ave a go."
SOUNDBITES: THE WISDOM OF FARAGE
"I think that politics needs a bit of spicing up. This just happens to be a fresh attempt to bring in some of the icons of the young and the apolitical and to get them into the whole debate on joining the economic and monetary union." – defending a British anti-Euro currency advert featuring Adolf Hitler in 2002.
"I haven't got a clue whether climate change is being driven by carbon-dioxide emissions. I think wind energy is the biggest collective economic insanity I've seen in my entire life." – Spiked, March 2015
"The real question is, at the end of the day, do we want to run our country? Are we proud of who we are? Are we happy to be just a star on somebody else's flag, or do we want to be an independent nation?" – Daily Mirror, May 2016
"Any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door." – LBC Radio, June 2016
"I've always been the outsider. I've always been regarded as some extraordinarily dangerous figure. I'm none of those things! I'm just a middle-class boy from Kent who likes cricket and who happened to have a strong view about a supernational government from Brussels." – Time, June 2016
"Isn't it funny — you know, when I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me. Well I have to say, you're not laughing now." – to fellow MEPs in the European Parliament's first meeting since Britain voted to leave the EU, June 2016
"Either you support the existing global elite, or you want real change and believe in nation-state democracy." – Breitbart, September 2016
"Brexit was the first brick that was knocked out of the establishment wall. A lot more were knocked out last night. This is Brexit times three." – Time, November 2016, after Trump's presidential victory
* An Entertaining Evening with Nigel Farage take place at Auckland's Sky City on September 4. Details are at www.nigellive.com.au
- Sunday Star Times