Mitch Harris nails it

Mitch Harris writes at Radio Live:

Why is it that so many reporters and public relations spruikers, who laughingly describe themselves as political commentators, still do not understand MMP?  Germany, the bedrock of European stability, has just had an election – and there will be six weeks of negotiations before a Government is formed.  Unlike New Zealand, the Germans trust their bureaucrats to keep the country running.  Our chattering classes resemble a group of five-year-olds failing an emotional intelligence test screaming for the chocolate fish immediately. Before the vote has even been counted there have been demands for NZ First to say eenie meenie miney moe – National.

On election night as National tried to proclaim itself the winner, it was revealing – and I mean revealing, how many people showed their true colours by going along with this drag queen act.  When Peters didn’t play the game and confirm National’s absolute right to rule, the insults and caricatures of a clubbable demagogue began.

The most egregious example of this sort of nonsense appeared in the Herald by former National whip Michael Cox.  After a thick layer of condescension Cox proposed the childish idea of a “grand bargain” between National and Labour to keep NZ First out.  Apparently, Cox does not realise this only happens in wartime.  No wonder he never made cabinet.  And then there was Damien Grant who claimed this dreadful situation was all Steven Joyce’s fault – for not proposing a referendum to go back to FPP.  Grant should be glad the harsh conservatism he proposes for everyone else wasn’t applied to him when he was sitting in a prison farm.

Michael Cox always was a dreamer. Ever since MMP has come in people have proposed a grand coalition. It will never happen…mainly because of the Labour party. National would entertain it in a heartbeat.

Let’s remind people who Winston Peters really is.  When it comes to challenging the establishment there has never been anyone quite like him.  A proud Maori and Pakeha man, he walks comfortably in both worlds and can best anyone in the most powerful court in the land.  That is why the Nats are so keen to do a deal with the Greens.
They would be relative innocents compared to Peters who can play the game better than anyone.  He is the ultimate inside outsider.

Winston Peters lost his house and most of what he owned fighting the most powerful and wealthy business-people in New Zealand.  The winebox enquiry revealed a sophisticated, tax evasion scheme using the Cook Islands as a kind of money-laundering machine.

What really irritates the NZ political establishment about Winston Peters is that they do everything they can to kill him off – and he just keeps getting back up. Like Castro, he has survived so many plots he wouldn’t put it past his opponents to plant an exploding cigarette.

That’s probably why Winston has stopped smoking.

Whether it turns out to be either a National or Labour/Greens Government, both will benefit from his experience and moderation.  And don’t give me that rubbish about him being too difficult to work with.  The failure of the last NZ First/National Government wasn’t Winston Peter’s failure – it was Jenny Shipley’s arrogance, and that is another story.

Mitch is right there. The National government was teetering in its third term. Shipley had already rolled Bolger, National was already on the way out. It certainly wasn’t Winston Peters who torched the government. Same in 2008 when Clark was in her third term. It is demonstrably unfair to lay the blame for her loss on Winston Peters.

If he goes with National there is a fair to even chance National will tank anyway in their fourth term. If he goes with Labour there is a fair to even chance the Greens will cause trouble.

In any case, Winston isn’t holding anyone to ransom, the voters did, by delivering several options for the politician to work with. No use carping about it, its the system people have voted two times to keep.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.