Little still using smoke signals to speak to Winston, shame he isn’t listening

Andrew Little still hasn’t bothered to spend much time at all with Winston Peters. He needs to if he is to form a government because he can’t form one without Winston Peters.

The problem Andrew Little has is that any government he forms has to be without the Greens, but he can’t form one without at least their support.

Vernon Small is the first commentator to realise this:

An Intelligence and Security Committee seat for Winston Peters and first phone call – and so “first cab off the rank” status – for the Greens in any post-election deal-making.

“One for you, one for you and please play nicely,” it seemed Labour leader Andrew Little was saying as he sashayed through his support party two-step.

In fact the olive branch to the Greens had barely any substance at all.

I’d much rather have Winston Peters on the Intelligence and Security Committee than any Green MP. Winston should have had this seat all along, and so this just smacks of political opportunism from Andrew Little and an attempt at currying favour with Winston. It still doesn’t mitigate his Greens problem.

When that phone call comes and the Green co-leaders put it on speaker phone, there is still the chance it will bring only sorrow.

“James, Met, Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news is I called you first. The bad news? Any jobs outside Cabinet I can interest you in?”

But at the same time it was an important signal on many fronts.

To the Greens, who have swallowed at least one dead rat electoral deal, you really are our better friends. And our Memorandum of Understanding does live on beyond the election. At least in spirit.

To those centrist Labour and floating voters, who need to be acculturated to the idea that Labour’s main comes with a side of Greens: It’s nothing to be scared of.

Voters aren’t as dumb as Andrew Little. They know the Greens are dangerous and bat-shit crazy.

The old days of the Greens’ public disdain for NZ First are in the distant past.

They are mature and they can work with us, and with Winnie. A three-pronged administration really is feasible. The old animosities have faded to grey.

What of former leader Rod Donald’s 2005 description of NZ First policies as like Hitler’s and “ethnic cleansing” and of Peters as a “snake oil merchant” and “the ugly face of New Zealand politics”? His comment that: “It’s no coincidence that the leader of the National Front has quit politics – NZ First has stolen their policies”? So last decade.

Little’s semaphore to Peters and his team came with a nervous implied query …. are we still talking? Pick up Winston!

The Greens may not publicly disdain Winston, but Winston absolutely loathes the Greens. He shafted them before and he would shaft them again if necessary. But I seriously doubt Winston wants a three-headed arrangement. He’d prefer a two-party solution. Unfortunately for Andrew Little there simply isn’t enough support to get him there.

Peters’ reaction was as inevitable as night follows day, as Jacinda follows Annette.

He does not discuss post-election deals ahead of time. So he wasn’t going to comment on others’ deals either, despite the efforts of a “wanton media”.

And as for the Green’s endorsement for his committee role, he hadn’t even given it any thought. His only interest was in whether the “National Party leader” had agreed to Labour’s nomination.

He had, so he was in.

Nothing to see here.

Symbolism, schymbolism.

Grandstanding and virtue signalling. At some point, Andrew Little is going to have to drop his trousers for Winston and that won’t end well.

 

-Fairfax

 


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