Winston Peters

Explaining is losing, NZ First denies there are divisions

NZ First is claiming that there are no divisions in the party after Ron Mark tipped Tracey Martin out of the deputy role.

New NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark has denied there are divisions in the party.

Mark talked to TV3’s The Nation about the vote on Tuesday that saw him replace Tracey Martin as deputy leader, with a three-day wait before it was announced.

He denied there were any divisions within NZ First or that anyone had abstained from the vote.

“Nobody abstained, and the fact that that’s even a conversation is absolutely quite bizarre,” he said.

Mark said that Martin had done good work, but the vote was a “democratic decision”.

When asked about when the party might need to start thinking about life without Winston Peters, he said the NZ First leader was “yet to peak”.

“Mark my words, he hasn’t finished yet, and if anyone thinks that Winston Peters is finished, all I’d say is smell the coffee.”

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Will Ron Mark achieve something nobody else has? [UPDATED]

NZ First is beset with tension and speculation as observers wait to see whether Ron Mark has displaced Tracey Martin as deputy leader.

Sources close to the party say Mr Mark was promised on his return to Parliament last year by Leader Winston Peters that he could become the deputy.

But Mr Peters is said to be uncomfortable with him pushing the matter right now.

Whether that means the party has had or will soon have a vote is unclear.

It might even stretch the matter out for a longer period of time.

The party’s agm and conference is only four weeks away and that could be the venue for any announcement on the future of the leadership. Or the party might want to have it wrapped up now and present the new leadership as a fait accompli to the conference.

Mr Mark’s own reputation is under a bit of a cloud after comments he made in Parliament last month suggesting the Iraqi army solders being trained by the New Zealanders were cowards. Read more »

Winston and Kelvin Davis need to get their facts straight

Yesterday in parliament Winston Peters and Kelvin Davis led a shameless and more to the point dead wrong attack against a local company in Northland.

They are trying to link Judith Collins into the attack and Nick Smith didn’t really help her with his hesitant responses.

Kelvin Davis : Has he discussed the issue of swamp kauri exports with Judith Collins, whose husband, David Wong-Tung, and good friend Stone Shi are directors in the chain of shell companies that owns the Ruakākā mill, the ultimate ownership of which is obscured by a lawyer’s nominee company?

Mr SPEAKER : In so far as there may be some ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I thought that this member was above getting involved in that sort of murk.

Kelvin Davis : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did ask a question, and it was not addressed.

Mr SPEAKER : Yes, and I said that the Minister could answer it in so far as there was ministerial responsibility. There was very little connection there with ministerial responsibility. I allowed the Minister to answer it the way he did, and that is acceptable.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is he denying what is well known to locals in Northland: that swamp kauri is being exported illegally and that his ministry’s lax enforcement of the law is because people high up in Oravida are major donors and players in the National Party, and there are the photographs of the logs, all being exported illegally?

Mr SPEAKER : Again, I will invite the Minister to answer if he sees ministerial responsibility.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : The law in respect of the export of indigenous forests was passed in 1993, with that member’s support. It was softened in 2004 by colleagues adjacent to him, with his support. My advice is that the law is being followed.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. He cannot get up and accuse me of supporting a law when I was not a member of the Government. He did it on both occasions—1993 and 1994. We all know that. He is just telling lies.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] No, I do not need further help with that. That is certainly not a point of order. I will invite the Minister, if he wishes, to add further to his answer in order to complete it before we go to further supplementary questions.

Hon Dr NICK SMITH : I would invite the member to check the Hansard as to how New Zealand First voted in 1993 on the Forests Amendment Act, and, again, as to how the party voted in 2004 when the law was changed.

They are running off their mouths under the protection of parliamentary privilege.    Read more »

Simon tells Northland to build a bridge and get over it…oh wait

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A bridge was the undoing of Ted Kennedy at Chapaquiddick, Simon Bridges’ problems are far worse politically than a dead girl in the car.

National is giving Northland the middle finger for dumping them during the by-election.

National has no money for the bridges and is hoping the NZTA will help out…but unless they can magic up some deaths or safety issues quick smart those bridges are not going to be built this century.

Only four of the 10 bridges the Government promised to double-lane in Northland will be worked on in the next three years – and some may never be upgraded.

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has announced a $13.9 billion plan for spending on roads and public transport across the country over the next three years.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges promised the bridge upgrades during the Northland by-election earlier this year and said the work would be done over six years.

He said today that NZTA had ruled out double-laning three of the bridges.

Those bridges are Hallahans Bridge, Lowes Bridge, and Darby and Joan Bridge, which is between two large kauri trees and which the agency says cannot be double-laned.

Mr Bridges said he was not breaking his by-election promise.

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Quote of the Day

From Rob Hosking at the NBR, about Colin Craig:

There is little doubt Mr Craig is flakier than a roll of filo pastry with psoriasis. Statements about chem trails, doubts about the validity of the moon landings, calls for unused land to be confiscated from the owners, descriptions of Kiwi women as the most promiscuous in the world all caused a lot of side-eye from dubious New Zealanders. The departure of his press secretary days before last year’s general election looked odd: it now emerges the relationship became “inappropriate,” to use Mr Craig’s own words, although the this inappropriate behaviour appears to have been on his side, not hers.

That, plus the decidedly odd shirtless TV interview in a sauna last month has turned the flakiness into a snowstorm.

It was also never clear how much Mr Craig actually believed some of the stuff he was spouting: there was seldom an air of conviction to his comments aimed at enticing morally conservative Christian voters.

He came to politics as if he were someone who had spotted a vacant market niche rather than as a conviction politician.

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If only they’d do the work

Winston Peters wants to get the unemployed to help with the building of homes in struggling regions.

I can’t wait for the unions to dump all over that policy, and I can’t wait for Labour to try and nix the solution.

NZ First leader Winston Peters wants to use unemployed people to fix up dilapidated houses in struggling regions.

In a speech in Rotorua today, Mr Peters said his party had long had a community wage policy to get unemployed people into work.

“It is based on a combination of the unemployment benefit and the minimum wage, and amounts to a subsidy for paid work in any region,” he said.

Mr Peters said when full-time jobs did not exist local community leaders could name projects that would be started if money was made available.

Under the policy, an individual or a group of people could be working for a number of employers doing specific jobs.

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Oh, he’s sorry alright. Sorry he was caught

Sonny Tau, the Ngapuhi leader and pigeon-fancier is sorry…he was caught.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has confirmed it is investigating allegations Mr Tau tried to smuggle the native wood pigeons from Invercargill to Northland.

He was reported to have been found with the birds under his jacket.

There are two species of native pigeon: the kererū, and the more threatened Chatham Islands pigeon – the parea.

Although the native pigeon was traditionally hunted for its meat and feathers, that is now illegal.

Kererū, or kukupa, are a protected species under the Wildlife Act 1953, DOC said.

It said the maximum penalty for being caught hunting the bird was a $100,000 fine and/or imprisonment of two years.

Mr Tau has released a statement admitting there was an incident on Tuesday last week in which he was questioned by a DOC officer about kererū in his possession.

“It is important to note that no charges over regulatory breaches have been laid at this point, therefore it is inappropriate for me to comment further on this matter,” he said.

“I wish to assure you I did, and will continue to, fully cooperate with any investigation. I also wish to say this was a mistake, which I deeply regret. The laws around native bird protection are important and to be respected by all, myself included.”

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However John Key thinks that National benefits from the Conservatives collapse

We know Richard Harman thinks that NZ First benefits from the collapse of the Conservative party.

I also know that Winston Peters is personally furious with Colin Craig for his shameless stealing of policy at the last election.

However John Key thinks that National benefits from the collapse.

The strife enveloping the Conservative Party could benefit National, Prime Minister John Key says.

Board members who are opposing the return of founder Colin Craig as leader have said they believe the party can rebound under a new leader.

There have been discussions about potential new leaders since before Christmas, board member John Stringer says, and there are interested candidates.

Mr Craig has signalled he will fight for the leadership, and this morning Mr Key said it was not clear how strongly the party would emerge from its current difficulties.

The Conservatives achieved 3.97 per cent of the vote in last year’s election – more than 95,000 votes, but short of the 5 per cent needed to enter Parliament.

“You just dont know how all this stuff is going to play out. He has been the big funder of the party. We are two and a bit years from the election. It’s a long way to go,” Mr Key Mr Key told the Paul Henry show.

“Those Conservative voters…if they [the party] were not so strong a voice – they have well come back to us.”

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Winston Peters can’t wait for the Conservative Party to fall over, and here’s why

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Richard Harman throws some useful political analysis on the Conservative Party coup

It’s hard to see the Conservatives recovering as a credible political force after this weekend’s debacle over the leadership of Colin Craig and the allegations surrounding his relationship with the party former press secretary, Rachel McGregor.  … Read more »

Auckland Council v Kaukapakapa

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A reader writes

Kaukapakapa has been pushing Auckland Council & Transit hard for roads to be sealed & repaired to no avail.

This is the actually State Highway 16 but within the main township of Kaukapakapa.

Locals are enjoying a laugh at two Auckland Council employees stuck firmly in a large deep pot-hole.

Perhaps Winston could stand for Helensville next and sort it?

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