NZ First slow to show new deputy

NZ First say that they had a vote for deputy leader last Tuesday, when Ron Mark defeated Tracey Martin in what is claimed to be a close vote and against the wishes of Winston Peters.

The NZ First website has scant sign that there has been any change in leadership.

Apart from Peters on their Home page the only sign of any other MP is a photo of ex-deputy, Tracey Martin (although on re-checking that is a coincidence of timing, it seems to rotate through the MPs), apart from an MP list with Mark well down the list (ninth, his 2014 list position).

NZFirstHome

There is no sign of change on their Our MPs page with Martin still at two and Mark still at nine in the pecking order.

NZFirstOurMPs

The News page highlights three old clips from Parliament, but if you scroll far enough down there’s an item on the deputy change from Friday:

NZFirstNewsPage

Curiously this highlights Martin rather than Mark.

However their Facebook page is more up with the news:

NZFirstFacebook

Standard gossip with strong Labour Party links

Greg Presland (mickysavage) has made a very tenuous claim in What is it with Herald Gossip Columnists?

Another Herald Gossip columnist with strong National Party links, Pebbles Hooper, created a stir yesterday on Twitter by suggesting that the tragic death of an Ashburton mum and her three children was “natural selection”.

That was an awful tweet by Hooper and it deserves condemnation.

But unless Presland has far more solid evidence of “strong National Party links” than he has presented then this is dirty politics from him.

And Danyl Mclauchlan too, who’s tweet features on Presland’s post:

Sacking journalists and replacing them with dregs of Auckland National Party clique working as well as you’d think http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/celebrities/69968352/pebbles-hooper-ashburton-deaths-were-natural-selection 

Mclauchlan has strong Green party links, having helped James Shaw in his selection as party co-leader.

In comments Presland was asked: What are the strong National party links?

He points to a link provided by Paul:

Here is some background.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=11275169

That points to Twelve Questions: Pebbles Hooper, only one of which makes any reference to National:

6. Are you an Act Party voter?

Practically. I’ve already voted National now and I can’t be a politically out there person on Facebook because I would be killed.

That looks like a very weak link. Linking Hooper’s comment with “strong National Party links” requires far stronger evidence than this, otherwise it is just dirty politics from a Standard gossip with strong Labour Party links.

(And there’s plenty of evidence of Presland’s Labour Party links).

And Presland has added this comment:

mickysavage

I thought about whether or not doing this post. It is just another case of a right winger with strange world views not having the decency to keep them to herself.

But you know what? There is whanau and extended whanau grieving right now. They deserve us expressing outrage.

Using a tragedy like this to launch a dirty political attack also deserves an expression of outrage Greg.

Greg Presland et al versus Helen Clark

Greg Presland has asked for help in researching a post on “all the stupid spends the Government has made lately”:

For a future post I would appreciate some help. The post is about all the stupid spends the Government has made lately. The list includes:

1. $28 mil on the social bonds policy.
2. $11.5 mil on the sheep farm in the Saudi desert where many of the sheep die.
3. $11 mil on McCully’s or Groser’s future New York apartment.
4. $30 mil to Rio Tinto.
5. ??? to Sky City.

Here’s some help on item 3, which has been widely criticised by opposition parties and activists.

Helen Clark backs New York apartment spend-up

Helen Clark says the $11.4 million the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spent on a New York apartment is “definitely money well-spent”.

The ministry bought the apartment at 50 United Nations Plaza so diplomat Gerard van Bohemen, New Zealand’s representative on the Security Council, could be closer to the organisation’s headquarters.

The spend-up prompted criticism from Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First, but Ms Clark – a former Labour Prime Minister and as head of the United Nations Development Programme, the third-most powerful person in the institution – disagrees.

“The current residence is about 45 blocks away from the UN,” she said on TV3’s Paul Henry programme this morning.

“If you’re the ambassador and you’re trying to lobby for peace in the Middle East or some other cause, are people going to get in the car in the middle of the day in the rush-hour traffic of New York and go 45 blocks? Of course not.”

She says it’s more than just a place for the diplomat to stay while he’s in New York.

“This is an entertainment venue, a work venue for the New Zealand mission, and I can tell you there will be lunches – people will be coming over in the lunch break. It’ll be money well-spent.”

But what would she know.

Presland, Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First see far more importance in knee-jerk criticism and attack regardless of common sense and the political and diplomatic experience of someone like Clark.

John Stringer gives up Conservative Board

John Stringer has given up his attempt to put together a new Conservative Party Board, for now at least.

TVNZ reports John Stringer quits Conservative Party board membership.

John Stringer has resigned as a board member of the Conservative Party.

His resignation has been received by the Party Secretary, Nathaniel Heslop who says Mr Stringer remains a supporter of the Conservative Party, its principles and policies.

The party will hold board elections later this year and in the meantime a provisional board has been established.

So that makes it all of the Board that has now resigned.

Stringer may have decided it was too difficult to fight against the resources and determination of Colin Craig.

Ron Mark – “we don’t find it strange at all”

Is Ron Mark the New Zealand First leader-in-waiting, ready to take over when Winston Peters bows out or conks out?

He was interviewed on The Nation yesterday (repeated Sunday morning on TV3 at 10 am) or you can watch here: Interview: NZ First Deputy Leader Ron Mark.

He uses the terms ‘bizarre’ and ‘strange’ – that could easily apply to the impression he leaves with this interview.

Mark  says what he probably needs to say about Peters being the unchallenged boss in perpetuity, but he seems to have some ambition, otherwise he wouldn’t have challenged for the deputy spot.

Mark is a politician with a lot of experience – as he demonstrated by blatantly misleading to media about taking over from Tracey Martin. He confirmed that the vote was on Tuesday but the announcement was deferred to Friday:

And once the votes were taken and the leader was confirmed, and the deputy leader was confirmed… The vote was taken on that. We also established an assistant whip which we hadn’t had before.

The Caucus determined that that should take effect as of the Friday at 10 o’clock, which gave people the chance to see what was left of that session, and we could go to the recess and come back tooled and ready to go. So, that was a Caucus decision to hold it till Friday, and so with effect 10 o’clock Friday, that was when their decision took effect, so…

On Tuesday Mark said: “No I’m not the new deputy leader, and we don’t discuss caucus matters.” (Newstalk ZB)

“Mr Mark also said he was not the new NZ First deputy leader, but would not comment on whether he had made or planned a challenge.” (NZ Herald)

To be fair to Mark it seems that he was bound by a strange Caucus decision to hold of announcing his elevation for three days. He, alongside Winston Peters and the rest of the NZ First MPs had to mislead and effectively lie about what had happened.

Mark was also contradictory when pushed to reveal the vote result.

So how did the vote go? Did you have a clear majority?
Oh, votes are always done in secret, and the votes were counted up by someone who wasn’t an MP, and, actually, no one knows the result.
Do you know the split?
No one knows the result… No one knows what the votes were at the end of the day

They must have been told the actual vote, surely.

Everyone knows the result. But we’ve been told that initially it was a draw. So was it a draw — straight down the middle?
Oh. You guys were saying all sorts of things that there was… Well, clearly it wasn’t a draw.

There were reports that it was a split vote that was resolved by a switch of sides by Richard Prosser. This may or may not be true.

Did Winston Peters vote for you?
I wouldn’t have a clue, actually.

It would be very unusual for a politician to bid for a higher party position without having a very good idea what the numbers were – and especially whether they had the support of their leader or not.

So were there 12 votes cast? Because we’re also hearing that someone abstained.
Oh, for God’s sake. See, this is the trouble. I mean… Nobody abstained, and the fact that that’s even a conversation is absolutely quite bizarre, but then a lot of bizarre things have been said over the last week, and we’re not responsible for that. The people whose mouths, those words, came out from, they’re the people responsible for that – most of them are journalists.

So he claims to not know what the vote was but is certain no one abstained.

What is quite bizarre is having a leadership vote and then pretending nothing had changed for three days. And then claiming to not know what the vote was but stating with apparent certainty aspects of the voting.

If Tracey Martin was doing such a good job, why did she have to go, then?
At the end of the day, it’s a democratic decision. People look at the candidates they have in front of them. They vote according to how they feel it should be, and that’s what happened. So it’s not for me, really, to answer questions like that.

It’s totally up to Mark that Martin ‘had to go’ – he decided that she should go and should be replaced by himself. He can choose whether to answer questions but avoiding them like this isn’t a smart look.

I suppose the thing is, Mr Mark, at some point the party is going to have to start thinking about life without Winston Peters.
Well, that point’s not too— I can’t see that on horizon right now, Lisa, because, you know, Winston’s yet to peak. He, against all the odds, after we got tossed out in 2008, he came back in 2011 against all the predictions, and I think this channel as well. 2011, he came back. 2014, he came back with more MPs. Now he’s just stormed the ramparts of Northland. Mark my words, he hasn’t finished yet, and if anyone thinks that Winston Peters is finished, all I’d say is smell the coffee.

That response can’t be taken seriously. The NZ First caucus chose a new deputy leader and then spent three days trying to fool the media and the country until confirming it had actually happened.

So it’s entirely possible that they are doing more than just thinking about ‘life without Winston’  but won’t be up front and honest about it.

That was most of the interview wasted playing media games with the process and the announcement.

Just before we go, I just want to ask – where do you stand on the spectrum? Because before you decided to stand for New Zealand First, I mean, you were at the National Party conference, you were even approached by ACT, so are you more comfortable to the centre right than the centre left?
Oh, I’m really comfortable as a New Zealand Firster and partly because we’re conservative but very much because we have a compassionate side to us and strong social conscience.

While they may see themselves competing with Colin Craig ‘compassionate’ and ‘conservative’ don’t seem to be prominent traits (of either) – Mark seems to be following in his leader’s footsteps with bull and bluster more noticeable.

Come on, Ron. Are you a possibility for working with the National Party?
I think New Zealand First, Lisa, could possibly work with any political party that’s prepared to do a deal that reflects more of our policies than they might want to consider. But, actually, our policies are all aimed at doing the best thing for New Zealand.

The best for New Zealand? Or the best for the New Zealand First constituency? Pushing for more free travel for pensioners is not exactly “the best thing for New Zealand”.

RonMarkStrange

“We don’t find it strange at all”

It looks like a strange interview to me. Ron Mark does deputy leadership takeovers well, and he does strange well too.

See for yourself –  a bizarre interview.

And the full transcript.

“Banal is what gets you elected”

Chris claims that “banal is what gets you elected” so that’s what Andrew Little and Labour are busy doing – full bore banal.

He has posted at Bowalley that Busy Doing Nothing: Why Andrew Little Needs To Keep Labour Out Of The Headlines:

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the Labour Party is currently engaged in a critically important political campaign. No, it may not look like Labour is doing very much at all at the moment, but that is the whole point. After the sheer mayhem of the last four years, a period of tranquillity is crucial to Labour’s chances of re-election.

All of the party’s research suggests that by the end of 2014 the New Zealand public was fed up to the back teeth with Labour.

As 2015 loomed, what Labour most needed to do was to get its name out of headlines. No more leadership elections. No more Caucus back-stabbing. No more shots of furious rank-and-file party members calling for the heads of the “Anyone But Cunliffe” faction.

The new leader, Andrew Little’s, best course of action, after he’d spent a little time reassuring the voters that he could string together a coherent English sentence, and that he wasn’t in the least bit sorry for being a man, was to say and do as little as possible and just let the people of New Zealand get used to him.

One problem with this approach though is that Little has gone backwards this year, especially with his capitulation to Winston Peters in Northland.

And while Little stays out of the headlines it gives more opportunity for Winston Peters and now Ron Mark, and James Shaw and Metiria Turei, to build profile and support, or at least keep Labour’s support in the mid-twenties along with Little’s missing in action strategy.

At some point, however, Andrew Little is going to have to give the voters something more than an absence of embarrassing headlines. Part of establishing that all-important connection with the people who vote is to say or do something powerful enough to bind them – the politician and the voters – together.

By far the most effective way of doing this is through words and gestures; symbolic moments that imprint themselves on the voters’ minds; events that leave people thinking: “That guy would make a damn good prime minister.”

Little has done more of the opposite this year, and with the inaction added to that it’s a very risky strategy.

Perhaps National will keep being over-cocky and cock some significant things up, and Little’s Labour may come through be default, but with the current numbers that will be with substantial power sharing with NZ First and Greens (if NZ First will go that way).

Labour hasn’t just treaded water this year, they have slipped under the surface a little more.

It won’t be easy to swing from banal into overarm.

SIDE NOTE: Trotter has made several references that suggest he has been fed inside information from Labour…

“All of the party’s research suggests…”

“Except that is not what the polling and the focus groups are telling Labour.”

…and has done a friendly post with a bit of added input of his own.

The curious attitude of Tracey Martin

Will Tracey Martin walk away tomorrow from a position of power she seems to have not wanted?

Martin has been replaced as NZ First Deputy Leader by Ron Mark in what is claimed to be a close vote, and against the wishes of Winston Peters. And seemingly with the full support of martin.

Martin’s reaction has been curious, as have past comments by her about her elevation in the party pecking order.

Just before the announcement yesterday that Mark was replacing her Martin tweeted:

Worth a re-read. :). Tracey Martin – in Winston Peter’s shadow

This linked to a Stuff profile of her from two months ago – Tracey Martin – in Winston Peter’s shadow – which suggests she wasn’t ambitious about leadership roles.

Living in the shadow of NZ First leader Winston Peters would be a cold place for many and while deputy Tracey Martin is no threat to his popularity she is successfully carving herself a place in Parliament.

As the party’s deputy leader she is the apparent succession plan for a party that seems to have prided itself on never having one.

That may sum up her elevation up the NZ First list and installation (until this week) as deputy – she wasn’t a threat to Winston.

Martin was a surprise pick for the deputy role and the unkind would say that’s because she wasn’t a risk of overshadowing her charismatic leader.

At the age of 50, Martin has found herself in a position of power that she never asked for and would walk away from tomorrow – a surprising claim from an MP only six months into her second term in Parliament.

Martin presents as very unambitious and not very committed – so why was she promoted and why was peters still, apparently, wanting her to remain as deputy this week?

In 2008 she was 13th on the party list and had no hope of making it to Parliament but when the listing committee, including her mother, met in 2011, she leaped up to second place.

“I deliberately said to my mother if she had any influence at all don’t make me number two because there was a certain group of people who were a bit anti the Martins anyway.”

But she was made number two anyway, and later she was made deputy leader, apparently against her wishes.

Better female representation is a long-term goal but for Martin the job is only a three-year commitment.

“And that’s only if you don’t cock it up.

“I could happily go home tomorrow and do what I love to do which is raising money to help my community.

“I’m not desperate to stay here and that’s because I think the absolutely worst kind of politician is a person who is desperate to keep their job because they’ll do and say anything to keep it.”

She doesn’t sound desperate to keep her job. Odd comments for an MP, it looks like she has been put into the party and the leadership against her wishes.

And the curiosity continued this week. It has been reported to be a close vote that deposed her as deputy, with Peters wanting her to remain as his 2IC. But from what she said yesterday she seems to support Mark’s elevation over her.

Stuff again, in Ron Mark new NZ First deputy:

Martin said she supported Mark and would never have been the deputy leader if he had been in the last caucus that appointed her in the role.

“I think I’ve done a really good job as deputy leader in the period of time I was required to do it. I think I did the best I could do with the experience I had.

“This isn’t an anti-me, this is the fact that Ron had years more political experience than I do and that is the right person in that place in that job going forward in this moment.”

This sounds almost like she would have voted for Mark against herself and against Peters.

Martin said there were no surprises over the announcement and she didn’t yet know what her future held.

“I hope to remain a well respected member of the NZ First caucus and Parliament. I’ll do my job and do it to the best of my ability.”

Except that yesterday she pointed out a two month old article that said “Martin has found herself in a position of power that she never asked for and would walk away from tomorrow”.

Very curious.

And now she finds in a position of less power. Will she walk away tomorrow?

Mark confirmed NZ First deputy

After a weird week of speculation Ron Mark was confirmed as the new NZ First deputy leader, replacing what is reported to be Winston’s choice, Tracey Martin.

It has been claimed this is the first time the NZ First caucus has decided something significant against Winston’s wishes.

This may introduce unfamiliar tensions within camp NZF. It has been widely known or assumed that Winston doesn’t tolerate any threat to his own leadership. Last term Brendon Horan and Andrew Williams were excommunicated, supposedly for daring to have ambitions that threatened Winston’s authority.

Mark is saying all the right things (that is, pandering to Peters) about his own ambitions, saying he sees Winston as the leader into the foreseeable future.

But whoever is deputy when Peters decides to retire (or otherwise ceases to be leader) will have the inside running to take over the top position, and it’s thought that Mark has his eye on this goal.

Mark is an experienced MP, having been in Parliament for about a decade before NZ First got rejected in the 2008 election.

He became mayor of Carterton and didn’t stand in 2011 when NZ First returned, but was reported to have been persuaded to stand last year.

Mark was apparently pissed off to be only placed at 9 on the list but with NZ First’s resurgence that was enough to get him back in.

The list selection is reported to be dominated by Peters and the party President, Tracey Martin’s mother. In 2011 Martin had been promoted to two on the list where she remained last election. So Mark has overturned the party rankings to get himself installed at second in command.

My impression of Mark in Parliament this year has been as a jumped up smart arse.

Perhaps the greater responsibilities he now has will morph him into a respectable and credible leader-in-waiting.

This should mean not trying to act like a young Winston clever dick. Time will tell.

Winston succession talent on display

While secrecy over the clash of the deputies continues Winston Peters lauded all of the NZ First talent in 3 News: NZ First cagey about leadership rumours:

Asked whether the party had a succession plan, Mr Peters said he’s “probably got 10 successors – that’s how much talent we’ve got in New Zealand First”.

Some of this talent was on display during Question Time in Parliament today.

Both deputy aspirants seemed to be trying to be young Winstons, without vast experience and without success.

10. Trade, Minister—Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership

[Sitting date: 02 July 2015. Volume:706;Page:9. Text is subject to correction.]

10. FLETCHER TABUTEAU (NZ First) to the Minister of Trade : Does he stand by his statement in respect of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that “We were never going to start the serious negotiations until it was show time”, and will this include the future of Fonterra?

NZFTabuteau

Hon STEVEN JOYCE (Acting Minister of Trade): Yes, the Minister does stand by his statements on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This includes the statement that further negotiations are needed to resolve the most difficult issues in negotiation, which include market access for dairy. In respect of the second part of the question, if the member is referring to the structure of Fonterra, the way Fonterra operates, established in the dairy industry reforms of a decade ago, is not up for negotiation.

Fletcher Tabuteau : For clarification, how does the Minister then reconcile the US Dairy Export Council’s strong support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement fast-track when its president, speaking about Fonterra before a Senate inquiry, said: “If this is going to be a high ambitious agreement in the 21st century, you need to reform the industry, which is creating a 90 percent market share for one company in the global market that the company”—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Supplementary questions must be concise. Bring the question to a conclusion very quickly, otherwise I will rule it out of order.

Fletcher Tabuteau : Thank you, Mr Speaker. The president was suggesting that Fonterra has way too much market power by law and should not be therefore—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Debates occur after question time. If the question can be made out—[Interruption] Order! I am on my feet at the moment. If the Minister can establish a question out of that, I invite the Minister to answer it.

Tracey Martin : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Unfortunately, because that is a direct quote from hearings held on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Minister would not be able to answer the question of my colleague without hearing the direct quote.

NZFMartin

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member needs to study the Standing Orders. Standing Order 380 is quite specific on how questions can be asked. That question is miles too long. I warned the member. He then continued with a long question. I am now giving the Minister the opportunity to answer. If there are further supplementary questions and they are of that length, I will simply rule them out of order.

Ron Mark : Point of order. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Would all members resume their seats. This may be a fresh point of order, in which case I am happy to hear it. But if it is in any way a relitigation of a ruling I have just made in respect of that question, then I will treat it very seriously indeed.

Ron Mark : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I fully accept your ruling. The question though is going forward to help us, could you give us a word count so that we can check ourselves—

NZFMark

Mr SPEAKER : Order! It is the last day before a break, so I will, on this occasion, be a little generous to the member. The published Hansard will be available at about 4.30 p.m. I suggest he just count it for himself. [Interruption] Order! No, the member will resume his seat. The question has been asked with some difficulty for me to decipher, but I am going to give the Minister a chance to answer. If there are further supplementary questions, we will move from there.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : It is not the job of the New Zealand Minister of Trade to reconcile the statements of a US lobbying group, whoever they are. I stand by the answer to the substantive question.

Fletcher Tabuteau : Would the Minister describe the stand by the US National Milk Producers Federation as shadow-boxing given that it stated, after the fast-track was passed, that the US dairy industry has been a strong advocate for the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, with it previously telling the US international—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! That will do. The question has been asked, and again it is too long.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : The answer remains the same. It is not the job of the New Zealand Minister of Trade to reconcile the positions of any other organisation that is lobbying in favour of a particular outcome in regards to a trade agreement. It is the responsibility of the New Zealand Minister of Trade to lead the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Fletcher Tabuteau : Can I raise a point of order and seek clarification?

Mr SPEAKER : Yes, you can.

Fletcher Tabuteau : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have sought to keep these questions within the bounds and structure of previous questions that I have asked in this House and have been allowed. Your—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member has just summed it up perfectly for himself. I have noticed a habit whereby increasingly the questions that are asked by this particular member are far too long. I have given him the opportunity to shorten them. He has not taken my advice. He may well get the same treatment in the future. Does the member have a further supplementary question?

Fletcher Tabuteau : Can the Minister confirm to New Zealand farmers and consumers that under a Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement United States milk and meat products containing wrapped dopamine and recombinant bovine growth hormone, both banned here in New Zealand, will not enter into New Zealand, as stipulated by the EU in its own free-trade agreements with the United States?

Mr SPEAKER : Again, marginal but I will allow it.

Hon STEVEN JOYCE : There are all sorts of things that are being negotiated, including such issues as phytosanitary conditions and all the requirements on animal product health and so on. These negotiations are continuing. The Minister is not in a position to comment on individual items, except to say, in response to the substantive question the member raised, that the way Fonterra operates is not up for negotiation.

To assist the NZ First talent here is Standing Order 380:

380 Content of questions

(1) Questions must be concise and not contain—

(a) statements of facts and names of persons unless they are strictly necessary to render the question intelligible and can be authenticated, or

(b) arguments, inferences, imputations, epithets, ironical expressions, or expressions of opinion, or

(c) discreditable references to the House or any member of Parliament or any offensive or unparliamentary expression.

(2) Questions must not seek a legal opinion.

(3) A written question must not repeat the substance of a question already lodged in the same calendar year.

(4) Questions must not refer to proceedings in committee at meetings closed to the public until those proceedings are reported to the House or (subject to Standing Order 115) to a matter awaiting or under adjudication in, or suppressed by an order of, any New Zealand court.

(5) Where the notice of a question does not comply with the provisions of the Standing Orders, it is not accepted. If, by inadvertence, such a notice is accepted it may be subsequently disallowed by the Speaker unless it is amended or revised so as to comply with the Standing Orders.

The Winston replacement battle

Hints of a possible deputy leadership battle in NZ First look like they were accurate – see Peters can’t name his deputy – with an announcement supposedly imminent (tomorrow is the word).

3 News: NZ First cagey about leadership rumours

New Zealand First is planning a crisis meeting tomorrow where it’s widely expected deputy leader Tracey Martin will be rolled.

The party’s MPs have been cagey about the issue over the last two days, with many refusing to confirm Ms Martin’s still in the role.

Leader Winston Peters says she is for now, but won’t say what might happen tomorrow.

Asked whether the party had a succession plan, Mr Peters said he’s “probably got 10 successors – that’s how much talent we’ve got in New Zealand First”.

Yeah, all lining up to topple Peters.

David Farrar with the not so secret The secret NZ First Deputy!

UPDATE: I understand that Mark did defeat Martin by one vote for the Deputy Leadership, after Richard Prosser swapped camps. We’ll find out tomorrow if this is correct, but heard from a parliamentary source.

It seems that Mark blames the Martins for his low list ranking last election, as he was seen as a threat – so this is a delayed utu.

Mark has look ambitious since his return, utu is likely to be just a bonus.

All the competition in NZ First is for second fiddle to Winston. Those who look to have ambitions in the past have been thrown out – Brendon Horan was kicked out of the party while an MP and Andrew Williams was thrown out through a low list placement last year.

If Mark gets the numbers to defeat Winston’s favoured deputy the tensions may rise a tad in NZ First. And if Mark becomes deputy the Peters/Martin control of the list appointments may be tested, demoting a deputy to an un-winnable position would surely be untenable.

The big prize of course is to be in a position to replace when he finally finishes his parliamentary stint.

I don’t think NZ First would look great with either Mark or Martin as leader. Winston’s “probably got 10 successors – that’s how much talent we’ve got in New Zealand First” looks a bit dubious.

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