Tracy Watkins talks about Andrew Little’s humiliation

Tracy Watkins explores Andrew Little’s humiliation. Quote:

Wrestling with alligators is how one National MP described dealing with Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters. A bloodied Justice MInister Andrew Little now knows how that feels.

Little has been dealt a short, sharp and brutal lesson in real politik by the master of MMP, Peters.

The NZ First leader pulled the rug out from Little’s hyped up plans to axe the three strikes law –  and deliberately doubled down on the lesson by waiting till the 11th hour before he did so.

In doing so, Peters has reinforced NZ First’s credentials with its supporters as a vital handbrake on Labour and the Greens, especially when they get too far ahead of public opinion, particularly on touch-stone issues like law and order.

He has also served a reminder to the two old parties – Labour and National – that MMP is all about governing by consensus.

And he has given warning that Peters will be far from a token prime minister when Ardern hands over the reins sometime in the next week or so to give birth.

It has been Peters’ bug bear for years that the big parties still act like first past the post governments under MMP.  Peters’ lack of trust in National accepting the compromises required by MMP was one of the big factors behind his decision to go with Labour after the 2017 election.

Yet Little fell right into the same hole when he publicly announced two weeks ago he was taking a paper to Cabinet proposing to repeal the law, when he hadn’t even bothered to consult NZ First.

It should have been as obvious to Little as everyone else that repealing the three strikes law was anathema to a law and order party like NZ First.

National has been running a relentless “three strikes” campaign on social media claiming that repealing the law will let murderers and violent offenders out early. It’s a a raid deep into NZ First territory.

Little might not remember the Norm Withers referendum in 1999 calling for tougher sentences and  hard labour, which was backed by a staggering 91.8 percent of voters.

But Peters has a very long political memory. 

So do some of Labour’s longer serving MPs, who will remember the battering they got for being “soft on law and order” when the initial response to the Withers referendum was to bat it off.

So Peters might be ready to die in a ditch over three-strikes, but Labour won’t.

Three strikes won’t make a huge difference to Labour’s broader plans for an overhaul of the justice system and reduction in New Zealand’s incarceration rates -which are among the worst in the world.

But Little will need NZ First on-side next time or those plans could also be dead in the water. End quote.

It could have been worse: he could have been sent to a convent school in Heidelberg , teaching young girls home economics. The humiliation of that would be unbearable.

Andrew Little has been spanked hard by Winston. He should drop the arrogance and start consulting with his support partners.


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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.

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