There’s something desperately sad about watching Winston Peters trying to milk a scandal about Peter Dunne. It’s a familiar routine for Peters, one he could do in his sleep: expose something irregular or embarrassing on the basis of a leak, spin it out over several weeks, harrumph self-righteously, strut the public stage, keep us all agog wondering what he’ll come up with next. And, in its heyday, what a routine it was! The Maori Affairs loans scandal, the winebox affair—these were legitimate issues of public concern, exposed by Peters, even if he made rather too much a meal of them. But the days are long gone when he seized on something really meaningful, and it’s a sign of how impregnable the National government has been to his usual tricks that all the old shark can do now is sink his increasingly blunt teeth into a fellow minor party. Shark bites minnow: this is news? Read more »
It was bad news enough for Labour this week that two major opinion polls registered morale-sapping widening of the gulf in the party’s support compared to National’s rating – a gap which had begun to close in previous months.
What had Labour seething, however, was the errant wording of a question in the 3News Reid Research poll.
The mistake may have been a simple oversight rather than a deliberate attempt to skew the result. But Labour felt it was at best the victim of sloppiness and at worst the target of a media stitch-up.
The survey asked voters whom they trusted when it came to managing the economy – John Key and Bill English, or, David Shearer and Russel Norman.
That Key and English were preferred by 55 per cent to 37 per cent came as no great surprise to Labour. The party’s own polling has similarly recorded Labour trailing well behind National when it comes to competence of economic management.
What really annoyed Labour was the inclusion in the poll’s question of Norman, the Greens’ co-leader, instead of David Parker, Labour’s finance spokesman. Read more »
NZ First leader Winston Peters has launched an attack on immigration policy and questioned whether Auckland is becoming “the supercity of sin”, linking crime and other problems to immigration from China.
In the speech to a North Shore Grey Power meeting he denied his party was anti-immigrant, saying it was not against bringing in people with skills lacking in New Zealand.
And he pointed to comments by the new premier of China that the biggest challenge facing China was the level of corruption.
“It stands to reason that corruption can be exported and imported,” Peters said.
He said the Government was talking of a million more people in Auckland soon “and there is no prize for guessing where most will come from”. Read more »
Is this the start of detente and the rehabilitation of the relationship between NZ First and National?
New Zealand First will support law changes allowing the GCSB to spy on Kiwis, giving the Government a comfortable majority on the controversial legislation.
But leader Winston Peters says his party’s support is conditional on additional safeguards for the public against unfair surveillance.
Prime Minister John Key last night briefed Mr Peters, Labour leader David Shearer, Green co-leader Russel Norman, United Future’s Peter Dunne and Act’s John Banks on his proposed amendments to the GCSB Act. Read more »
The left wing are not happy with the way David Shearer has been played by Winston Peters. Peters has made it a bottom line of any coalition with him that the assets sold down must be forcibly nationalised again.
Yesterday Winston Peters flung down the gauntlet on asset sales, declaring that NZ First would buy back stolen assets at no more than cost – and borrow if necessary to do it. Labour leader David Shearer’s response? He “won’t rule it out but we won’t rule it in either”. I’d ask him to tell us what he reallythinks, but its clear that he doesn’t really think anything. He’s just a spineless chickenshit, saying nothing for fear of offending anyone.
This isn’t good leadership, and it isn’t good politics either. Read more »
Airline passengers will be able to carry small knives, souvenir baseball bats, golf clubs and other sports equipment onto planes beginning next month under a policy change announced Tuesday by the head of the Transportation Security Administration.
The new policy conforms U.S. security standards to international standards, and allows TSA to concentrate its energies on more serious safety threats, the agency said in a statement.
Nice to see some common sense returning to this area, although there is still a huge shortage of it. Anyone who really wants to bring a binary liquid or a sharpened plastic “knife” onto a plane really isn’t going to be stopped by the current measures. But we already know that. Read more »
Chris Trotter has written a cogent explanation of why the anti-democratic intentions of the Greens, Labour, Grey Power and the CTU with their asset sale petition is bereft of logic and flies in the face of the government’s electoral mandate to partially sell assets:
The target of 310,000 signatures has been reached – or so we are told.
The coalition of interest groups and political parties seeking a citizens’ initiated referendum on the National Government’s plans to partially privatise the state-owned energy generators has yet to submit its petition to the Clerk of the House for checking.
Even if this final hurdle is cleared, the petitioners will still have to find their way around a much more daunting obstacle: the Government’s mandate.
The government most certainly does have a mandate. And the Greens, Labour, Grey Power and the CTU would like to believe that they don’t. Trotter comprehensively destroys that myth. Read more »
It appears that Winston Peters is acting half-cocked. He made this statement in the house yesterday afternoon:
And a short while later gave an interview outside the the safety of the house. Either the cameraman is 7 foot tall or Winston has shrunk a fair bit from his 4’2″ stature.
In that interview it appears that Winston Peters has not asked his caucus about the Horan issue and merely acted:
And, his claim that Brendan Horan will be automatically expelled seems a bit…well…ill informed. Scott Yorke explains Winston’s little problem with his post “Even the King must follow the rules“:
[L]et me summarise in a few words the critical points. NZ First’s board can act on a complaint about a member, or act on its own initiative in the event it thinks a member has been naughty. But in either case it must convene a hearing, and the member concerned is entitled to be present.
(Ignore for a moment some of the ropey drafting of this rule, because I think the intent of the rule is pretty clear)
I’m going to assume there hasn’t been a hearing by NZ First’s board, because I’m sure someone would have mentioned a hearing if one had taken place, and I’m also going to assume from Horan’s defiant statements that he hasn’t resigned as a member. And while his future plans are unclear, he hasn’t to my knowledge joined another party.
So Horan’s still a member of NZ First, and not even King Winston can decree otherwise.
It would appear that Winston isn’t even aware of his party’s own rules. This could get interesting.
NZ First leader Winston Peters has expelled his Brendan Horan from the party after receiving “substantive material” that caused him to lose confidence in the MP.
He sought leave to make a personal explanation and said allegations had been made against MP Brendan Horan relating to a family matter.
Mr Peters told Parliament “substantive information has come into my possession some as recently as 2.15 this afternoon.”
“The information we have received leaves me in a position where I have no confidence in Mr Horan’s ability to continue as a member of parliament and he will be expelled from the NZ First caucus forthwith.”
Mr Peters said Mr Horan had a duty to resign as a Member of Parliament.
Horan has engaged prominent Tauranga QC, Paul Mabey, so this is going to get really messy, really fast.
Winston Peters has many more questions to answer. He has known about Horan’s shenanigans for quite some time. Proper journalists would be focusing on this aspect rather than Horan’s dodgy dealings or peccadillos.