John Key

Is Winston Peters the only opposition leader with moral authority?

Winston Peters win in Northland means that he is the only opposition party leader who actually has won a seat.

He put his name on the ballot and got elected, rather than getting the arse from the electorate like Andrew Little, Metiria Turei and whichever of the four leadership aspirants of the Greens win a seat.

So now Winston joins ACTs Seymour and United’s Dunne and the Maori Party’s Flavell as well as National’s John Key as having a mandate from an electorate.

Winston should challenge the other wanna-be opposition leaders to win a seat like him, prove they can do the hard yards in an electorate and prove that they can actually get people to vote for them.   Read more »

Prime Minister Key v King Winston

This happens for Question 11 at question time yesterday.

And there he goes… raising the problem of sexual violence in Northland.

Trotter on the effects of Northland on Labour and National

Chris Trotter has always been a keen observer of Winston Peters and in his blog he comments on what the victory in Northland means for Labour and for National.

To hold Northland will NZ First be required to veer to the Right – thereby alienating the thousands of Labour supporters whose votes provided the foundation for Mr Peters’ upset win?

Will the National Government, looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, begin to re-position itself as NZ First’s future coalition partner?

How will Mr Peters’ Northland victory influence Labour’s political positioning – especially its relationship with the Greens?

Good questions which Trotter goes some way to explaining.

Labour, if it is wise, will seize the opportunity provided by Mr Peters’ victory to put even more distance between itself and the Greens. In his continuing effort to “re-connect” Labour with its traditional constituencies, Andrew Little must already have marked the numerous ideological affinities that draw non-National provincial voters towards one another. These are conservative people, whose personal morals and political values often place them at odds with the more “progressive” voters of metropolitan New Zealand.

The extent to which Labour’s Northland voters defected to Mr Peters indicates that, at the very least, the NZ First leader’s political values presented no insurmountable barrier to Labour’s people following their own leader’s tactical advice. Indeed, just about all the insurmountable barriers to the re-connections Labour must make if it is to regain the status of a “40 percent party” have been raised in the cities – not the provinces.

Even in the cities these obstacles persist. Labour’s traditional urban working-class supporters have more in common with their provincial brothers and sisters than many Labour Party activists are willing to admit.

Shunting-off their social revolutionaries to the Greens might decimate the ranks of Labour’s membership, but it could, equally, swell the ranks of those willing to vote for the party in 2017. Shorn of its radical fringe, Labour not only becomes a much more comfortable fit for NZ First – but also for working-class New Zealanders generally.

Read more »

The Silence of the Lambs

Well National’s caucus was a non-event.

After a 25 minute tirade from John Key it can best be summarised as “National was always going to lose the campaign, but ran a good campaign…really it was a good one…but because it was a by-election it has no effect…nothing to see here, move along“.

Not one MP spoke out about the dreadful result or the cast of characters responsible for the debacle.

It was Silence of the Lambs…and those lambs are now being led to the slaughter.

To cap it all off they all congratulated themselves and all those who worked so very hard for the…uhmmm…loss.

Are these muppets on a different planet to me?   Read more »

What is Winston’s price for cooperation? Is it to see Key go?

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Prime Minister John Key is “acting like a spoilt brat” by saying he doubted Mr Peters would work constructively with National.

Mr Key said yesterday reforms to the Resource Management Act would have to be scrapped or diluted because National no longer had the numbers to pass them. He said he doubted Mr Peters would work with National on such issues even if they benefited Northland because Mr Peters was an oppositional MP.

Mr Peters said National had not even put anything in front of him to consider. “I’m not going to have Mr Key roaring when his toys have been taken out of the cot, as they were last Saturday, making these sort of protestations. What you’re getting now is protestations of innocence and good faith which don’t exist. The National Party has not come to us.”

It’s payback time alright.   Read more »

Herald Editorial “suspicious” of Key’s keen scuttling of RMA reform

The Prime Minister was quick to “rip up” the Government’s intended reform of the Resource Management Act after the Northland byelection. Suspiciously quick. He may be oddly relieved to lose the numbers he would need in Parliament to force National’s policy into law. It wants the act’s guiding purposes to include economic development alongside its present list of environmental and heritage protections. It seems reasonable both should be on the RMA’s scales but this is not the first time Mr Key has backed off the idea.

He spent much of the previous term trying behind the scenes to persuade partners Peter Dunne and the Maori Party to drop their opposition to the measure. Last May he publicly announced he had failed to get their support and he said he would take the issue to the election in September. But sometime between May and September the party decided not to make it an election issue and the subject was barely heard in the campaign. Read more »

Is it even possible? Labour even more irrelevant and marginalised

Labour is offering to look at “sensible changes” to the Resource Management Act as the Government takes its proposed amendments back to the drawing board.

“There’s just no question that you’ve got to rip up what we’ve got now, go back to the drawing board and have another go,” Mr Key said.

Last week Environment Minister Nick Smith admitted it would be more difficult for the Government to make the RMA changes it wants if Mr Peters won Northland.

“There is no doubt that if National is not successful in the Northland by-election the job of resource management reform is going to be more difficult,” he said.

Labour’s environment spokeswoman, Megan Woods, says the Government never had broad political support for its proposed changes. Read more »

And so it starts

NZ First leader Winston Peters, who beat National’s Mark Osborne by more than 4000 votes in Saturday’s by-election, promised during the campaign to reverse “decades of neglect”.

He wants port, rail and road improvements he says are vital for the region’s future.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce, who was National’s campaign manager, says losing doesn’t mean shutting out Mr Peters.

“We’ll be more than happy to work with Mr Peters to meet some of the commitments he’s made,” Mr Joyce said.

“We’re also going to focus on some of the things Northland needs to really lift itself up the rankings of the regions.”

Mr Peters says it’s time to put personality politics aside and he expects “a constructive and co-operative approach” from the government.

This is going to be fun to watch.  One thing we do know, when Winston is bought, Winston stays bought.  But he’s generally not cheap to buy.   To see him bring Joyce to heel is fascinating.   Read more »

Who to blame? Richard Harman has some ideas

Someone in National needs to be held to account for losing a seat they had held for 70 years.

Today is their caucus meeting and there is much to mull over, especially the actions of the campaign team during and post the campaign.

Richard Harman attempts to point the finger.

Was it the candidate?

The candidate, Mark Osborne, won selection largely on the back of votes from the northern end of the electorate centred on Kaitaia where he lives. Those votes were marshalled by Mr Carter.

Mr Osborne defeated the much more locally credentialed Grant McCullum from Wellsford who is also a member of the National Party Board.

The problem with having the north select the candidate is that the largest segments of the population live in the south, around the Bay of Islands and across to the west coast around  Dargaville.

Kaitaia is over 80 kilometres away and Mr Osborne, who manages a Council facility there, is simply not a big enough name for the people in the south to know much about him.


On the campaign trail he looked a stunned mullet, plainly out of his depth with little charisma and nothing much to say.

But it would be unfair to blame him alone.

National badly misread the mood of the electorate and here the fingers get pointed more obliquely, more subtly at Mr Joyce.

Read more »

RMA reforms dead in water after Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle

The first consequence of Steve Joyce’s disastrous campaign in Northland is that the RMA reforms that National promised at the election are now dead in the water.

Prime Minister John Key says Government will have to “rip up” its Resource Management Act reforms after National’s by-election defeat in Northland.

Speaking to Radio New Zealand this morning, Mr Key said that there now no chance of getting majority support for changes to the Act’s core principles.

“With the RMA, there’s just no question that you’ve got to rip up what we’ve got now, go back to the drawing board and have another go,” he said.   Read more »