Fat Tony weighs in on Winston’s utu

Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams has some words of wisdom for Bill’s crew over Winston’s utu:

For political junkies like me the 2017 poll is turning into the gift that keeps on giving.

If anyone doubted that utu (revenge) was an element in Winston Peters’ decision to back the Labour Party and change the government, the events of last week must have wiped those doubts away.

It was revealed that papers had been filed with the Auckland High Court fingering those thought to be responsible for the leak of his pension overpayment.

These documents were filed the day before the election just before 5pm and named all the National Party suspects, including former Prime Minister Bill English, his Deputy Paula Bennett and the campaign manager Steven Joyce.

Ever a man of his word, Winston has done what he promised and is using every legal tool he can lay his hands on to get to the bottom of what the highly regarded veteran political journalist, Barry Soper, called “dirty politics”. 

Winston’s lawyer, Brian Henry, says that it wasn’t dirty politics, he says it was “illegal politics”.

While Winston was negotiating with the National and Labour Parties, this timebomb was ticking away.

New Zealand First Party Minister, Shane Jones, in his first speech on his return to Parliament, made it abundantly clear that this attempt to smear Winston was a key to National’s defeat.

I’ve been involved in political organisation for nearly 40 years on both sides of the Tasman and I have to say that this has to be the all-time stunner of an own goal.

In any kind of proportional representation environment, it is essential that the big parties maintain friendly relationships with as many of the smaller parties as they can.

MMP was designed by the Americans for Germany after World War II and the specific aim of the system is to reduce the likelihood of one-party government, and the rise of another Hitler.

That is why you keep and maintain back-channels to all parties. National failed to do that…but they could easily have arranged such a back channel if they wished.

I recall a conversation with Peter Dunne when he was Associate Minister of Health with responsibility for drug policy in one of the John Key National-led governments.

Dunne left the Labour Party at the advent of MMP in 1994 to join what eventually became the United Future Party.

He told me that when he announced his departure many of the Labour MPs, whose party he had just abandoned, either snubbed him or were actively spiteful.

Helen Clark, he said, was a notable exception to this nasty behaviour. She told Peter that he would be missed and wished him well.

This turned out to be sensible, future-focused behaviour. After the 2002 General Election Dunne’s party was signed up as a support Party for Helen Clark’s Labour administration.

Had English adopted Clark’s approach, he’d be Prime Minister right now.

Helen Clark was a political professional. I despised her politics, and still do, but I admire her skills.

Whoever decided that leaking Winston’s problems with his superannuation was a good idea robbed the National Party of its chance of a rare fourth term and turned English into a two-time loser.

The responsibility for this calamity belongs to campaign manager Joyce. If he didn’t know about the intention to leak he should have. If he did know about it he should have stopped it.

While the National Party drifts into navel-gazing mode, our new Prime Minister, having been thrown into the deep end of international politics, seems to be thriving.

Yeah, not sure Jacinda is thriving. If you say that pissing off your allies, neighbour and lecturing other countries about their internal politics is sensible, then I guess you can say her leadership is thriving. But for someone supposedly thriving she sure looks fricken miserable.

 

-HB Today

 


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