Colin Moyle

Is Winston First dead on its feet?

Tracy Watkins seems to think so in her article in the Dompost.

She is alone in the gallery in thinking Winston’s time is over, a smart observation, but one that will ignored by the lazier members of the gallery who hold onto the hope that there is one last hurrah in the old not so wily dog. I think 4 months will be sufficient time for Tracy Watkins to be proved right.

Anyone who kids themselves that there is life after Winston Peters for NZ First only had to watch the party floundering in the absence of its leader this week.

Frantically trying to head off an attack by their former colleague, expunged NZ Firster Brendan Horan, Peters’ front bench achieved the seemingly impossible feat of making Horan look good by comparison.

They were clueless in the face of Horan’s determination to extract utu from his former party by tabling documents he claimed showed improper use of the taxpayer funded leader’s fund.

Whether the documents do show what Horan claims remains to be seen; the Speaker is investigating although the explanation offered by Peters suggests the spending complies with the rules. But we know from long experience that politicians have a collective interest in not inquiring too deeply into the use of leaders’ funds.

There is certainly no reason to be confident that they have cleaned up their act since an Audit Office inquiry several years ago found most parties treated it as a slush fund for party political activities. (NZ First was one of the parties pinged for unlawful spending to the tune of $158,000).

Regardless of the ins and outs of Horan’s allegations, however, one thing seems clear: Horan is hellbent on using his last remaining months in Parliament to try to take Peters and the rest of NZ First down with him.

Even if he succeeds he will only be hastening by a few years what increasingly seems inevitable.

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Update on Botany

Two more names have been added to the Botany selection race. Perennial loser Ken Yee and bitter outsider Michael Williams.

Ken Yee personifies average and was previously beaten by Pansy Wong in standing for selection in Botany. It has been a long time since Ken Yee had a drink at any public trough after being tossed out as a councillor some time ago, by Jami-Lee Ross. I doubt, given the number of people coming forward that Ken will even make it through pre-selection.

Michael Williams is another wanna-be politician who is a legend in his own mind. he is the current Howick Local Board chairman, and his main attribute seems to be that he thinks it will cost les for a Community Board by-election than for a Council by-election. He is pompous and has a stunning ability to turn people off the moment he opens his mouth.

Meanwhile Auckland’s resident nutter Penny Bright has conformed with me that she will be putting her name forward for the by-election as an independent. That should make candidates meetings extremely entertaining. I hope she brings her “dead cat” hat along.

The Standard provides some commentary on Botany, as well, with an interesting aside that Winston might have a crack. I hope he does, then I can needle him at every candidates meeting about his corruption and interesting.

Like Mediatart who comments here they make the same mistake is assuming the Botany of today existed in its current form anywhere past 3 years ago.

Will Winston stand? I think he might. It’s worth remembering that his first seat was Hunua, which he won in 1978. Now, three electorates called Hunua have existed three times with very different boundaries. The modern Hunua electorate borders Botany to the south but the 1978 Hunua was extended further north, and only included the Hunua ranges to the south, whereas the modern Hunua goes right across to the west coast. Most of the voters in the 1978 Hunua that Peters won lived in what is now Botany. Sure, it was 33 years ago, and it was a tight race against Labour’s Malcolm Douglas (Roger’s brother), with Peters losing in 1981 to Colin Moyle. Nonetheless, there would be a certain sense of grandeur, so typical of Winston, to returning to the political scene by fighting in the area that first elected him to Parliament.

When Winston was creeping through broken windows in Huna it is safe to say that there was nothing but farm land in Botany and Ti Rakau Drive ended in a compulsory stop sign and the back road to Howick. Talk of Hunua and Winston is just nostalgic tosh. Botany as an electorate was only formed for the 2008 election, until then it had been part of Pakuranga and Manukau East. It was formed by the taking the blue parts of Manukau East and melding them with parts of Pakuranga. There isn’t a snowballs chance in hell of Labour winning this seat. It is safe National and for that reason the person National selects must not be a fly by night candidate.