Winston Peters is “evil and cowardly” says Duncan Garner

The media tide is turning on Winston Peters.

Duncan Garner gave him a right good old kicking yesterday, calling him “evil and cowardly”…which ironically I called Winston Peters to his face on the phone, to which he replied that he would smack me up if I said it in person.

Poor Winston, what’s going on? It looks like you’re really struggling to land any decent hits in Parliament these days. It all looks a bit limp and sad.

You’ve been there since 1978, save for three years in the wilderness before this term. If you ever had the answers then you’ve had ample time to share them.

Instead, what did we see this week? You abusing your privilege of free speech by spewing vicious bile at an MP who is in Parliament only because you wanted him there. Brendan Horan is hardly the first NZ First MP selected for loyalty rather than ability.

Calling Horan the “Jimmy Savile of New Zealand politics” was evil and cowardly – and you know it. If anyone makes any sort of claim against you, you’re quick to threaten legal action and demand retractions and apologies. But when you’re the one dishing it out those rules don’t apply: you can waltz into Parliament and get all the protection you need.

I have been threatened with legal action several times by Winston Peters, I once told his lawyer that I’d welcome the chance to explain just how Winston Peters won the Hunua by-election and he could tell Winston Peters that and see if he wants to continue the action. The man is a bully, a coward and yes he is evil.

I can’t help but point out the irony of it all to you. I remember covering a speech you made in Kawerau in 2008 and you had Horan along as your little sycophantic sidekick.

Horan was in awe of you, banging on to the journos about how you were an honest and loyal man who only wanted what was right for New Zealand. He told us you never took money from Owen Glenn and everyone was wrong to be questioning your integrity and honesty. Horan was really fired up that afternoon.

So how does it feel now he’s firing a few at you? Suddenly the spending from your parliamentary leader’s fund looks questionable – despite your denials.

And Horan’s allegations might just be sticking too. Did you spend $20,000 on a computer system to aid your NZ First Party? That money you and all the other parties have in those slush funds has never been transparent.

And perhaps he might like to talk about where all that cake stall money goes, because my sources tell me it isn’t into the coffers of NZ First.

Last week, before all this chaos, you were promising to take out Judith Collins. But when you pulled out your gun it merely went pop.

Yet, despite your miserable week, I still can’t write you off.

I was there in 1996 when you promised to get rid of Jim Bolger, Bill Birch and Jenny Shipley. I remember chasing you down Lambton Quay for weeks during the coalition negotiations. You loved the attention and you’re at it again.

Here we are 18 years later and not much has really changed. You’re still the potential king-maker and you like it like that.

David Cunliffe has flung the door open to you by shunning the Greens’ offer to campaign as a Labour-Greens government.

That suits you – we know you don’t like the Greens. It’s why you couldn’t go with Labour in 1996 – you didn’t want to share power with the Alliance in a three-party coalition.

He is an attention seeking political charlatan.

Now we’re back to square one. You’ve started talking about “bottom lines” again. Yet on really simple, straightforward questions you refuse to give a straightforward answer.

Yes, you’ve had some victories over the years, free healthcare for the under 6s and the Gold Card – but is there anything else after 36 years?

Now immigration is bubbling away as an issue again – just like 1996 all over again.

Yes, 98,000 people arrived in New Zealand last year and 65,000 left – but the fact is most of those coming here were Kiwis returning home. A small fraction of them were actually immigrants from another land. But let’s not let the facts get in the way during the election campaign.

Really, Winston, I reckon the public is tired of all these silly games. It feels like you’ve become entertainment for the stupid and sycophantic, who don’t take the state of the nation too seriously at all.

Winston Peters could have retired gracefully, with somewhat of a legacy. Unfortunately he is going down in political history as a bewildered old man long past his prime.


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