Winston Peters

Hooton on the rise of King Peters

Matthew Hooton was one of the first to posit that Winston Peters is aiming for a big swansong to leave politics.

The polls are pointing to that conclusion.

He’s never been Prime Minister, but wants to at least have some time in the job.

Sceptics of the Peters’ plan all miss two important points. The first is that the people of New Zealand simply aren’t stakeholders in post-election negotiations. No one voted for Mr Peters to become Jim Bolger’s treasurer in 1996 or Helen Clark’s foreign minister in 2005. On both occasions, voters would have considered the very idea laughable – and, indeed, I was laughed at on Radio New Zealand’sNine to Noon in 2004 when I first raised the idea of Mr Peters becoming foreign minister.

More recently, it’s doubtful New Zealanders have really wanted United Future’s Peter Dunne to have responsibility for tax collection or drug policy, or Act’s David Seymour to set up charter schools. But, immediately after an election, the next is a political lifetime away and the politicians go for whatever they can get, regardless of what voters think.

The second point is that a Peters-chaired government would not be seeking a second term anyway. If Mr Peters’ aspirations could be negotiated back to a single year, Andrew Little or a new National leader would have to wait just 12 months to become prime minister and would then have two full years to refresh the government and make a pitch for re-election. Sir Winston would be safely packed off to Observatory Circle or New Zealand House.

Ambitious politicians would have little doubt they could get voters to forget about the controversial origins of their government in that timeframe. Do you recall what the political controversy du jour was even six months ago? (Hint: in early November I wrote about the Royal New Zealand Navy’s invitation to the US to send a vessel to its birthday party later this year.)

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Winston goes for the non-Asian youth vote – no, really

The quality of life in New Zealand is being eroded and young Kiwis are the ones bearing much of the brunt.

Inequality exacerbated by the inexorable rise of house prices, especially in Auckland, is continuing to grow.

The dream of every young New Zealander – home ownership and a decent job – is becoming more and more elusive and difficult.

Many are scratching by in casual and part-time jobs when full-time jobs are what they need.

They are locked in a competition for both jobs and housing – not just against fellow Kiwis – but also against recently arrived immigrants.

Immigration is running at 100 year highs fuelling a house market that is already over-heated by foreign investors and a pitiful response by the government to supply.

A quarter of a million people are coming in on visas each year eager to secure a job. With migrants, many are heavily in debt and desperate for money.

They will accept any work conditions here knowing that back in their home countries loan sharks are holding their families over the barrel. Read more »

Poll carnage for Labour with latest Colmar Brunton poll


Labour and Andrew Little are in real trouble in the latest Colmar Brunton poll.

The popularity of John Key’s government is showing no sign of waning, with support for National climbing in the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

However it’s a very different story for Labour, with the party and its leader Andrew Little taking a big hit this month.

National has climbed three points to 50 percent – a level it hasn’t been at since August 2014 – while Labour is down a whopping four points to 28 percent.

Crucially, this is the first time Labour has slipped below 30 percent since the election.   Read more »

Winston and Don ride against Maori preferential treatment in the RMA reforms

Don Brash and Winston Peters have joined forces, unofficially, opposing Maori preferential treatment in the RMA reforms.

Brash, best known for his controversial Orewa speech in 2004 arguing against special status for Maori, told the committee that the National Party had always accepted fundamental reforms to the RMA were needed.

“If I was asked what single measure the Government could take to raise living standards in New Zealand, I would without hesitation answer, ‘Reform the RMA’.”

However, the proposed legislation was “pitifully limited” and would do little to resolve the existing problems, Brash said.

“By widespread consent, these reforms barely scratch the surface of what is needed.”

In addition, the “extremely modest” changes had been “bought at the cost of greatly extending the rights of those with a Maori ancestor to have a preferential involvement in the decision-making process”.

The proposed legislation would vastly extend the preferential treatment already offered to Maori in the RMA process through the iwi agreements, Brash said.

“This is surely a recipe for further delay, for corruption, and for anger on behalf of the rest of the community…

“It is incomprehensible to me how a National Party-led government could propose a bill which violates the very principle of democratic governance.”

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Winston not at his best today; thrown from the House again

He’s flinching, blinking, cantankerous, and not at all effective.


John Armstrong is dead. Long live John Armstrong*

As he was past his use-by date to actually be paid money by the Herald, he’s now set up his own blog, and here’s a bit of his first post.

Don’t worry. Don’t fret. Donald Trump will never become President of the United States. In time, American voters will “come to their senses” and bring Trump’s crude crusade for the keys to the White House to an abrupt halt.
So spoke one such voter questioned in a report screened by Al Jazeera which purported to analyse the reasons driving Trump’s unexpected rise and rise which has made him the front-runner in the race for the Republican party’s nomination for the presidency.
What was puzzling was why the journalist who produced the piece for the Doha-based television news channel gave so much air time to the views of a 62-year-old former lawyer and unflinching supporter of the Democrats – someone who would have been about as ideologically distanced from Trumpland as it is possible to get.
It is not that difficult to explain why so many Americans have fallen under the spell of Trump’s brand of populism. There is nothing new or particularly unique in the business mogul’s strategy. Anyone who was living in New Zealand in the mid-1990s will have noted a marked similarity between Trump’s campaign themes and those stressed by one Winston Peters.

And both Peters’ and Trump’s stars are rising.  Read more »

Winston in top form as he schools a reporter

Winston Peters is a wily old dog and he schools Lloyd Burr good and proper.

When it comes to avoiding questions, Winston Peters is the best in the business.

But when there’s a simple question like: “Is Helen Clark the right person to lead the United Nations?”, if your answer isn’t “yes”, there’s no credible way to skip the question, change the subject and try move on without sounding like a Helen-hater.

The New Zealand First leader did just that. Here are his answers.   Read more »

Brand Little too toxic for Peters

Winston Peters speaks at a Maori Affairs select committee

Winston Peters knows how to count, and he’s counted Andrew Little out.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party has no plan to campaign alongside Labour at the general election or to issue joint policy.

Labour leader Andrew Little said yesterday that Labour was working closely with New Zealand First and the Green Party and met with their party leaders regularly.

“We’ve got to have a good relationship if we’re going to call the Government to account because that’s what New Zealanders want us to do,” he told TVNZ’s Q+A.   Read more »

Angry Andy busted with pork pies


Andrew Little exclaimed yesterday on Q+A that he was working with Winston Peters and the Greens on formulating policy for an alternative government.

Fairfax reported it also:

Earlier on Sunday Little said he was talking with both the Greens and NZ First, separately, about issues where there is common ground that they could campaign on ahead of next year’s general election.

He said the public would know “well in time for next year’s election” where all three parties line-up and where there are differences.

“In terms of specific joint policy announcements, we’re certainly not there yet, but between now and the next election I certainly wouldn’t rule out (joint policy) with either of those parties.”

I thought to myself as I heard that news…”I wonder if anyone has told Winston about this, or asked him what he thinks?”    Read more »

At last Winston has opened something in Northland

Dargaville might not be big enough.

Northland MP Winston Peters this week opened a new office in the town, famous for its kumara and where he attended secondary school.

A couple of weeks earlier and not far from the town’s racecourse, National Party members attending Field Days plotted his downfall.

“There were a lot of people coming to talk about potential candidates, and finding the right one and suggesting names,” said Cabinet Minister Steven Joyce. “There is a lot of interest.”

Tomorrow is the anniversary of Mr Peters’ stunning Northland byelection victory — campaign slogan Send Them A Message — which caught the Government off guard.

In a Parliamentary career that began in 1978, capturing Northland after the resignation of Mike Sabin rates as one of Peters’ great political triumphs.

It’s also serving as a blueprint for his party’s 2017 election campaign.

The same message used in the byelection — that the Government and Wellington bureaucrats had neglected Northland for years — is being applied to other regions.

The damage that Steve Joyce and Jo de Joux have done to National in Northland may in fact be still larger than we anticipated.  Read more »