Tracey Martin fed up with male dominated NZ First

An odd article by Jo Moir at Stuff where ex-deputy leader Tracey Martin makes a vague claim of sexism within NZ First and accepts this may earn her a career ending place on the party list next election. It seems that she has just woken up to the obvious – NZ First has always been male dominated – by Winston Peters.

NZ First MP Tracey Martin accepts she could be gone at the next election.

Ousted NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin is pushing back at her party’s disregard for women and accepts that could see her gone at the next election.

“I was asked by a reporter in Warkworth that said, why aren’t you deputy leader anymore, what did you do wrong? I’m not aware I did anything wrong so my flippant answer was, I was probably born the wrong gender. It’s an answer but it’s an unprovable answer,” says Martin.

That sounds like a general ‘poor me’ lament without anything specific to back it up.

In July Martin was rolled from the deputy leadership by “assertive and aggressive” Ron Mark and while she says he has the credentials for the job she also believes her gender played a part in her fall.

Martin doesn’t know which MPs chose Mark over her but she says in her experience “suits stick with suits” and with a majority male caucus she didn’t have much chance.

Or maybe her caucus colleagues detected an attitude problem when deciding to demote her.

“I was number two on the list in 2014 because I was deputy leader but I could easily be number 30 in 2017.”

“By (then) they might think she’s more trouble than she’s worth.”

Almost sounds like she’s inviting that. The voluntary martyr.

“If you’re 40 and younger and you’re attractive men will stop and listen to you, actually they won’t, they’ll stop and look at you while you’re talking, and that gives you an opportunity to be listened to.

“One of the hardest things to be is a 50-plus woman because you haven’t got that leeway of youth that can catch the eye of men in positions of power…”

Perhaps it’s just hard for anyone in politics who feels hard done by because of perceived prejudice. Perhaps she shoukld face up to her competence and effectiveness as an MP regardless of her gender.

Martin was hopeful after the 2011 election she could get party policy on womens affairs but “at this stage I feel like I’m on my own trying to push that point”.

She seems to be committing political suicide so she won’t even be on her own pushing anything.

Martin’s time in Parliament could be tied to Peters – she says that if she was still there when he retired she would question whether she could stay on with another leader.

“I don’t know until that person presents themselves and I’ll make that decision for me.

“Winston holds the heart and the soul of the party I suppose. His values are the core of the party, that’s what they were built on and the rest of us share those.”

As for the rest of the party, Martin wouldn’t go out on a limb for any of them and she says they shouldn’t expect her to.

“This is my workplace, it’s not a place I expect to have friends.

“I need to do my job well and I need for the people who are on the listing committee to believe that I’m worth bringing back to represent NZ First but part of this push of mine could affect that.”

Martin says she enjoyed being deputy leader and thought she was good at it.

“I thought I gave the party balance but it’s ok not to be the deputy leader too – life doesn’t end because you haven’t got a title”.

Sounds like she has lost the will to be an MP. Why doesn’t she resign and let someone take over who has drive to do something regardless of the hurdles.

So NZ First will become more of a blokes club – the next three on their list are male (followed by Asenati Lole- Taylor).

Of their current twelve MPs three are female – Martin, Barbara Stewart and Ria Bond who came in earlier this year when Peters won Northland. NZ First had five females on their list of 25 in 2015.

Has Martin only just worked out that the Peters led party is male dominated? It has always been dominated by one man, the only significant change is the promotion of another man to deputy, the ambitious Mark.

Martin’s apparent lack of drive and ambition has probably counted against her far more than her gender.

Peters – late and cranky

Maybe he was suffering from jet lag. Winston Peters arrived late into the Red Peak debate, having just got back from the UK where he had travelled as ‘media liaison’ with the parliamentary rugby team. And he was cranky.

He got into the house during the third reading, and immediately tried to jump the speaking queue, citing his seniority.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just want to follow the speaking order here, because you have had a couple of backbenchers from the National Party, and I thought in this game, after many, many decades, that a certain seniority—

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No. Well, that is not right. [Interruption] The member will sit. [Interruption] Order! The National Party’s third call was given to the Greens. That was a swap, and the Green Party, which would have been speaking now in slot six, has had that slot taken by National. New Zealand First gets the next one, which is number seven, and that is the procedure we are following. It has been for the previous readings and is again for the third reading. I am calling Jono Naylor.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I just ask you a simple question, which I am sure will interest a lot of people in other Commonwealth parliaments and debating chambers as well. Usually the argument goes for and against, for and against.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no. [Interruption] The member will sit. Parties have the opportunity to trade their calls. In this case—[Interruption] Order when I am on my feet. In this case the Greens and National have changed their third spot, so the Green Party took the third call, which was a National call, and National is taking the Green call, which is call six. That is why I have given the call to a National member. New Zealand First on the schedule is call seven, and it will get call seven.

So he had to wait until call seven. Which he began by dissing the previous speaker, who has hardly been an MP for five minutes.

It is hard to imagine any justifiable reason for that member, Jono Naylor, getting to his feet.

Next he took a swipe at that terribly inexperienced John Key.

The Prime Minister has been utterly consistent, though—and I will be reasonable to him—in his inconsistency. He has been like the Skycity deal, like the South Canterbury Finance deal, like the Hollywood deal, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, and like the deal or the argument about not making New Zealanders serfs in their own country.

About separatist legislation based purely on race or about the State-asset sales referenda that we have had, he has been utterly consistent. He has done a backflip on the whole lot including this legislation. So why are none of us surprised? You see, he was on a hiding to nothing and we knew from day one that he could not be trusted to give the public a fair choice.

Soon after that he put down an interjector:

Brett Hudson: What about baubles and titles? Ministerial limos?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: No, no—do not come here like a young pup about the baubles of power. He is there because he got offered a list seat, not because he is good, not because he bright. He will be one of the first to go, and he will go on issues like this. We do not care about those whose experience is so little and who are so green in this Parliament.

Yes, Peters is a lot more experienced than Hudson (and just about everyone else). So he should know he got back into Parliament for the last two terms via his own party list – and I think he is on the panel that appoints him top of the list.  Four NZ First MPs became rookies in the 2014 election and an even less experienced MP has been added this year, all via the list that Peters helps compile.

Back to dissing:

Here is the PM, instead of saying “I want to leave the country in greater economic and social wealth and do great things in areas of reform,” no, he wants to have of all things at the end of his time a flag. And when he is asked what flag he says he does not know. He does not know. So he wants a legacy that he does not know about. How pathetic and shallow and egotistical is that.

What would Peters know about pathetic and ego?

So, like the cavalry over the hills, at the last moment comes in the most unlikely form—the most unusual salvation—from of all parties the Greens. This is pixie dust, Mr Hughes. It is naivety in the extreme.

Does naivety mean doing something that actually gets a positive result in Parliament? Peters might forget what it’s like to do that.

The rest of you are gutless.

Yeah, in the face of brave Winston.

Now the Greens are”—and I cannot possibly pronounce this word—“going to help National.” It goes on and on: “I can’t believe how you’ve done this. I voted for you at the last election. Now I’m going to vote New Zealand First next time.”

This move by the Greens is a potential threat to NZ First. If they show more willingness to work with National to advance their policies that’s a potential threat to Winston’s ‘kingmaker’ dream.

And so will the Labour Party members, who need to wake up on this issue. They cannot be trusted on our left for 5 minutes when you have got somebody who thinks that their political genius understanding of our country people measures up to a change like this.

After a closing rant and a National MP speech (that ignored Winston) Kennedy Graham of the Greens stood up.

Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM (Green): I just begin by acknowledging once more my colleague Jonathan Young for his contribution to this whole process, including chairing the cross-party working group. He did a very good job. Just to agree with the Rt Hon Winston Peters in his contribution, politics is all about leadership. That is true. I am a little less inclined to agree with his characterisation that the Greens are naïve or, for that matter, that Labour cannot be trusted. In our view, Labour can indeed be trusted.

Yes, Labour needs to be trusted by the Greens – and by NZ First – if they want to work together to form the next government.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I didn’t say that. No I didn’t. You’ve got it wrong.

Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM: I think, Mr Peters, you did. The transcript will clarify that one way or the other.

The transcript quotes Peters describing the Gareth Hughes and Green move to introduce the bill – “It is naivety in the extreme.”

The transcript quotes Peters: “And so will the Labour Party members, who need to wake up on this issue. They cannot be trusted on our left for 5 minutes…”

I think that clarifies things – Mr Graham is right and Mr Peters is wrong.

But Peters wasn’t finished. When it came time for the final vote on the bill:

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): The question is that the motion be agreed to. Those of that opinion will say Aye, to the contrary, No.

Clauses 1 and 2

Speech – JOANNE HAYES (National)

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Is it a point of order?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: It is a point of order, that is why I put “point of order” in front of my request. I called for a personal vote at the beginning of my speech because, as I say—

Clauses 1 and 2

Speech – JOANNE HAYES (National)

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no. This is the process. Let me explain the process. I told your whip this. The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. The whip came and asked me the process. I told the whip what the process was, and the process is that if a party wishes to call for a personal vote, I put the vote, as I am doing now, and when I get to the stage of asking for those contrary to the vote, a party has the right to say they call for a personal vote. At that stage, the party calls for a personal vote and I will adjudicate on it at that stage. That is the process. I will start the vote again. The question is that the motion be agreed to. Those of that opinion will say Aye, to the contrary, No. The Ayes have it.

Tracey Martin: No. Noes have it.

An odd claim. Martin will have been aware that all the prior votes only had 12 Noes – the NZ First MPs are the only ones who voted against in the first and second readings.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): Noes? All right—a personal vote has been called for by the New Zealand First Party. This bill has not been subject to personal votes during the course of the first or second reading or the Committee stages. I see no need to have a personal vote on this matter. The votes have been quite conclusive over the period of this urgency debate and, on that basis—and I refer the party to the Standing Order 144. That is the Standing Order that is the relevant one in this case. I am not prepared to accept a personal vote.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am well aware of the Standing Orders and past procedures, but there has rarely been, in my experience in debate on this matter, when so many members have openly and on the Hansard record stated their personal—hang on, can I just finish it off?

He should be as aware of Standing Orders and past procedures as any MP – and as familiar with futile grandstanding.

The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Lindsay Tisch): No, no—I have already ruled. The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. [Interruption] The member will sit. It is the Speaker who decides whether there will be a personal vote, and let me read it out. I quoted the number, Standing Order 144: “A personal vote may be held following a party vote”—and that is the process we are at now—“if the Speaker considers that the decision on the party vote is so close that a personal vote may make a material difference to the result.” As I mentioned earlier—and I have presided over much of this debate in the readings and the Committee stages—there has not been close votes. It has been very, very clear. On that basis, I am not prepared to accept a personal vote. That is the end of the matter, and I am now proceeding with the vote.

[PV on third reading—Ayes 109, Noes 12]

So that was Winston’s contribution to the red Peak debate. Late and cranky. It may have been jet lag but it wasn’t much different to usual behaviour for him. Cranky has been normal for a long time.

What seems to be newer is his attempts to pull rank in Parliament and his open disdain of what he sees as inexperienced MPs (except NZ First rookies).

How Peters will manage to negotiate with wet behind the ears party leaders like Andrew Little and James Shaw will be interesting, if it ever comes to that. He may not get the opportunity.

Greens might decide it’s easier to deal with National than be looked down on and marginalised by Peters – and by Labour, who have always treated Greens as second rate.

Peters’ third reading flag speech:

NZ First Nastyism

NZ First have opposed everything about the flag change consideration process. They oppose flag change so they oppose the flag referendums – despite this being contrary to their policy on democratic process.

In the Red Peak debate yesterday NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke took opposition to flag consideration to a new low – a very low low.

O’Rourke likened the Red Peak flag to Nazism. This is gross Nastyism.

First he showed various photos of German sentry boxes from World War 2:


It’s a major stretch claiming that looks like Red Peak.

But it got worse. O’Rourke then showed a concocted symbol from multiple Red Peak flags arranged at various angles. He took this off Twitter where it had been circulated.

ORourkeNastyismThis is disgraceful from a Member of Parliament. O’Rourke is a disgrace displaying current New Zealand flags prominently alongside this sort of despicable contrived symbolism.

Draft transcript of O’Rourke’s speech:

So let us look at this peculiar alternative called the Red Peak. It is angular, gaudy, and in no way representative of New Zealand or our culture. It is suitable as a road danger sign, and it looks very much like a commercial logo. It is virtually the same as that of a commercial Canadian log-hauling company.

More worrying is the similarity with the design of Nazi sentry boxes during World War II . Look at this photograph: this is actually a photograph taken from the Atlantic Wall Open Air Museum in Oostende, Belgium, and in it, that is a Nazi sentry box.

Look at it. Look at the design on the side of it. Look at the fact that it begins with a red peak, with a white peak on top of that which is also identical to the Red Peak flag. Then there is a black peak on top of that, also identical to the Red Peak flag. Only that little bit of blue, in one corner, is missing.

There is an uncanny resemblance, and the sad fact is that the Nazi colours were red, white, and black, as the Red Peak flag is, and those are the colours that dominate the Red Peak flag. Those who doubt, have a look at this photograph, because there is that same sentry box in full colour.

The similarity is absolutely stunning—absolutely stunning. Let us look at that design that I have just shown you, and the Red Peak, side by side. Look at the similarity. Could it be much closer? It could not—it could not be much closer. That is how close the Red Peak design is to a Nazi sentry box design from World War II.

I would like Gareth Hughes to have a good look at it, but he does not want to because he does not want to know the truth.

But people will make mischief of it. This design was obtained tonight from the internet. It was not by New Zealand First—not encouraged by New Zealand First—but by somebody already going on to the internet to say that.

O’Rourke and by association NZ First has not just encouraged this, he has promoted and displayed the nonsense in Parliament.

With simple shapes like red peak it’s possible to juggle bits around and make up all sorts of unrelated images.

That is what people will do with that design because it is absolutely nothing to do with New Zealand’s culture or New Zealand’s people.

We will be ridiculed overseas in exactly this sort of way if New Zealand was to adopt that kind of awful monstrosity of a design for the New Zealand flag. Imagine what the Aussies will say, not to mention the Yanks. What about the British tabloids—they will have absolute field day if we were to adopt a flag like that. I would not blame them.

The national flag of New Zealand must engender respect for our country, not provide a means of ridicule.

Such a nasty Godwin attack on an alternative design while flying the current flag does the opposite of engender respect for O’Rourke and NZ First.

Denis O’Rourke and New Zealand First – this is shameful disgraceful nasty politics.

Full video of his speech:

Red Peak addition negotiated by Greens?

It’s being reported that Greens have negotiated with National to enable Red Peak to be added to the flag choices, and that Labour may back it leaving only NZ First opposing.

This would be the sort of Parliamentary mandate that would give reasonable justification to adding Read Peak.

Greens seem to have learnt from the David Seymour approach to getting cross party agreement but have outdone him on this if they are successful.

Andrea Vance reports at stuff: Red Peak may be included on ballot

The Red Peak flag may be put to the public vote – after the Green Party waved a white flag.

It’s understood an MP will ask Parliament to include the popular design as a fifth option on Wednesday afternoon.

But the MP won’t demand any other changes to November’s vote, it is understood.

This opens the door to the Government agreeing to the motion. It’s likely only NZ First will oppose, but the Government could agree to pick it up as their own bill.

The Greens have stepped in to resolve an impasse between Labour and National. They refused to comment. But another source confirmed talks have been held with other Opposition parties.

Good on the Greens if they succeed. Good on them anyway.

It’s a clever move for the Greens who were on the wrong side of public opinion over opening bars for early morning Rugby World Cup games.

Good politics. Has a more co-operative cross-party environment been established in Parliament? There’s been some good promising precedents, kicked off by ACT’s Seymour.

Gareth Hughes will seek leave introduce a bill adding #redpeak to the flag referendum at the start of Question Time.

But Patrick Gower warns:

Greens will introduce Bill on #RedPeak flag – I understand National won’t oppose. It’s down to NZ First, if it opposes Bill will be blocked

Will NZ First play ball while Peters is away? It’s the middle of the night in the UK. Could be a big call for the remaining NZ First MPs.

Adding news as it comes to hand.

NZ First deputy Ron Mark has confirmed that NZ First will deny leave to introduce the bill.

Ron Mark confirms NZ First will deny leave

Greens media release:

Greens to seek red peak option in flag referendum

The Green Party will today ask Parliament to allow it to introduce a Bill offering New Zealanders the choice of the popular Red Peak flag as a fifth option in the upcoming flag referendum.

Green Party MP Gareth Hughes will seek the leave of Parliament to introduce the New Zealand Flag Referendum Amendment Bill 2015 and put it at the top of the order paper. This requires the support of every MP in Parliament if it is to be successful.

“My Bill is about giving New Zealanders a choice following the groundswell of support for the Red Peak flag to be included as an option in the upcoming flag referendum,” said Mr Hughes.

“Regardless of whether MPs want to change the flag or not, the referendum is going to go ahead anyway so it may as well include an option that a large number of Kiwis want.

“While there are clearly problems with the way the referendum has been handled, we also don’t think politics should get in the way of what people really want, which is more of a choice.

“We know Kiwis care about their flag, and they want a real choice when it comes to picking a new one.

“This Bill provides a constructive solution that gives people the choice of a flag that’s managed to engage more people in the flag debate than any other part of the process.

“We won’t be supporting any changes other parties may put up to this Bill. We want to keep it simple and allow the opportunity for Red Peak to be included without re-litigating the whole referendum process.

“If the Bill is blocked today, we would call on the Government to adopt it as its own, to put politics aside and provide the choice that New Zealanders clearly want,” Mr Hughes said.

So if the Government takes the bill as it’s own it may still proceed.

In Red Peak Or Bust move the Greens have committed in advance NOT to support any amendment Labour puts up to change referendum questions.

Greens getting one over Labour on this. It’s deserved, Labour have played Red peak very poorly.

Spokeswoman for PM says they won’t block the bill – not yet saying if they will pick it up as Govt bill

It doesn’t sound promising from Grant Robertson:

@mizjwilliams but why is it reliant on what we say? Govt has majority/power to do what it wants.

I guess my question was more a plea that you don’t let Key away with a position that is clearly bogus

He sounds desperate not to allow National to gain anything from this move, which is a natural inclination towards petty still. But Robertson isn’t Labour leader.

Talked to a source about chances of Govt picking up the bill: “I have a good feeling.”

Not such a good feeling in the Labour camp. And at The Standard – Flagging a dead horse.

Labour is about to be out-manoeuvred on Red Peak. They don’t actually want it on the referendum despite what they’re saying publicly.

NZ First opposed the bill in Parliament this afternoon so we have to now wait and see if National will take on the bill.

Which National have done. It will be debated under normal urgency starting today but may not pass all stages today.

Peters coy on PM dream, Labour say no

On The Nation on Saturday Winston Peters refused to rule out ambitions of a power sharing coalition agreement that would give him at least part of a term as Prime Minister. He even went as far as saying there was a precedent for a smaller party leader being Prime Minister – in 1932.

Interview: NZ First Leader Winston Peters

Winston Peters says there’s a precedent in NZ for the prime minister to come from the second biggest party in parliament.

On that scenario, do you think you could be prime minister?
Well, you don’t predicate your future – if you want to have a future in politics – on what you want.
But in the scenario where you were the smaller party, perhaps, in a government in some form, does the prime minister have to come from the biggest party?
You know, in 1932 the prime minister came from the second biggest party in the coalition. That’s why Forbes became the prime minister of this country.
So the prime minister could again come from the second biggest party?
I’m saying there is a precedent, yes. I’m just reminding people of the history. And that was before MMP.
So is that something you’d like to do?
I’ll tell you what everyone in New Zealand First is focused on – me, my caucus, everyone in the whole team – and that is to massively grow our vote by using new systems and the best technology possible in 2017.
You’re entitled to do that.
And we worry about that the day after the election.
But do you want to be prime minister one day?
You don’t get my point. In a long career, when have I ever run for that sort of position? Not once. I’ve seen all sorts of people with high ambitions, most falling by the wayside, most never making it, and I don’t want to be one of those.
What about some sort of agreement where you shared being prime minister? Say it was a National government; say it was a Labour-led government. Would you share being prime minister?
I’m not going to be answering those questions, because it’s immaterial unless we get the kind of sign-up and support that we are seeking in 2017.
But it sounds to me like if you do, you would do that. You would share that role of prime minister.
Given that I haven’t answered your question, how does anything sound to you in that context? I’m not being evasive. In a long time of MMP, for the last 22 years, I’ve told you journalists year after year every election year that we are going to decide when the people have spoken. And I keep on getting the kick-back from the media saying, ‘You’ve got to decide now.’ No. The people must decide first. It’s called democracy.
Yes. And I’m asking you one last time to rule out wanting to share the role of prime minister one day.
That’s a very adroit way of asking the same question. And as I said at the beginning, the people will decide the numbers we have in 2017, and everything’s academic until that happens.
So you won’t rule it out. Winston Peters, thank you very much for your time.

But the reality is that NZ First are currently 7.9% (3 News) and 5.5% (Roy Morgan) in recent polls. Unless they improve significantly by 2017 and pass the Greens in support it looks like a futile dream.

And Andrew Little sort of rules out power sharing with Peters.

Little shuns job-share idea

Labour leader Andrew Little is only just in front of NZ First leader Winston Peters in the preferred Prime Minister stakes but says he will not entertain the suggestion of sharing the top job if Mr Peters holds the balance of power.

Yesterday Mr Little said any place for Mr Peters in a future Labour-led government would depend on his support levels but the Prime Minister’s role was not up for grabs. “I don’t think New Zealand is ready to accept a state of musical chairs in the role of Prime Minister.”

NZ First are currently polling at about a quarter of Labour’s support.

And as support levels look at the moment a Labour+Greens+NZ First coalition with Winston Peters as potential Prime Minister will struggle to impress many voters.

I think there’s no way National would entertain the idea of giving Peters a spin at PM in a coalition.

Peters is unlikely to be up front about his ambitions before the election but failing to rule it out will ensure it will still be a factor in voters making election decisions in 2017.

NZ First Super bill voted down

In a close vote a NZ First bill that would have reduced Superannuation paid to older immigrants – and New Zealanders who had lived overseas – was defeated at it’s first reading in Parliament yesterday.

New Zealand First , Labour, Greens and the Maori Party voted for the bill but National, ACT and UnitedFuture had just enough votes to defeat it.

Grant Robertson (Labour):

These solutions being proposed in here by Denis O’Rourke may not be perfect, and we do have some concerns that we want to air at select committee about whether or not we have got the definition right. We do have concerns that the concept of universality is being called into question by this bill for the first time through the pro rata system. That is a very serious step to take and one that the New Zealand Labour Party is not confident that this bill will achieve in a way that we would want to vote for at the end of the road, but we want to see the issue debated.

Jan Logie (Greens):

The Green Party does not support this bill as it is written. We have some very deep problems with it, but we will support it to going to the select committee to enable a discussion and parliamentary consideration, particularly of section 70 of the Social Security Act .

So while Labour and Greens voted for the bill they has major reservations about aspects of it.

David Seymour (ACT)

You will find that even though it is a lovely idea to at least go forward to select committee and debate section 70 the reason it is so fraught is that there are so many pension schemes that it is simply very, very hard to reconcile the many schemes that there are around the world. With that in mind, this is a bill that is insincere in its commitment. It will not have the effects that we hope for, and for that reason it would not be a good use of the select committee or the House’s time to continue debating this bill through any further stages.

NZ Herald reports: Superannuation bill voted down

A New Zealand First bill that would have reduced the entitlement of older immigrants to a New Zealand pension and would have let superannuitants to receive overseas pensions without penalty was voted down in Parliament tonight after a fiery debate.

The bill, in the name of Denis O’Rourke, proposed a pro rata entitlement based on the length of time a person had lived in New Zealand between the ages of 20 and 65 years.

The bill would have allowed a full pension only to those who had spent less than five years living outside New Zealand between 20 and 65.

The bill would also have allowed superannuitants to collect an overseas pension as well by abolishing section 70 of the Social Security Act, which reduces superannuation by the amount of any overseas pension.

To qualify currently for Government superannuation, a New Zealand resident must have lived in the country for at least 10 years after the age of 20 and at least five years after the age of 50.

The current age of entitlement is 65. It is universal and not-means-tested.

Denis O’Rourke’s opening speech in the debate:

National’s David Bennett’s contentious response where he called the bill and NZ First a disgrace:

All InTheHouse videos of the debate: New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Pro Rata Entitlement) Amendment

Should Syrian men stay and fight?

Winsto Peters has done a Winston and suggested we should take women and children Syrian refugees but Syria men should stay in Syria and fight. He didn’t say which of the Asad regime, ISIL or the many factions they should fight for or against.

Claire Trevett asks Is it reasonable to expect Syrian refugees to fight?

Winston Peters clearly used the parliamentary recess for a binge watch ofBraveheart before he returned with his solution to the Syrian conflict this week.

Our very own William Wallace came out with his proposal to bring women and children Syrian refugees to New Zealand but send the men back to “fight for the freedom of their country, like we are”.

The “we” referred to the New Zealand Army soldiers over in Iraq rather than Peters and his merry men in NZ First who were cosily ensconced in their leather chairs in Parliament at the time.

In Braveheart, the “army” Wallace gathered up for the first Scottish War of Independence were humble, ordinary working men effectively armed with sticks and passion. The vast majority of the Syrian refugees are also normal working men – doctors, students, lawyers, plumbers and architects – rather than soldiers.

Sendig their women and children off into a dangerous unknown while men stay behind is also highly questionable.

If someone chose to give it serious thought, Peters’ comments boil down to the modern equivalent of handing a white feather to those male Syrian refugees for failing to stand and fight.

That would come as no surprise to those who recall NZ First defence spokesman Ron Mark recently referring to Iraqi soldiers as cowardly and lacking the will to fight. Fortunately many in the Islamic community treated it with the ridicule it deserved.

Yes, it deserves ridicule.

They called on Peters to provide detail for the cunning military strategy he had worked out. One wanted to know exactly which of the multitude of fighting groups in Syria Peters believed these men should fight with and which of the unfriendly forces they should fight against. Another wondered if Peters also proposed to train and arm the men in question.

I doubt that Peters would care about details like that, he is more likely just after headlines pandering to people who don’t think things through.

Yesterday Peters continued to insist that it was “reasonable” to expect Syrians to stay and fight, especially because a number of Western countries had “skin in the game”, including New Zealand.

However, he had managed to come up with a rather more chivalrous spin on it or perhaps he’d just added Titanic to his movie-watching. Speaking on breakfast television, he insisted women and children should come first. “My concern was in a crisis like this you would take the women and children first because you could take much more of them and you can do it much more quickly.”

So he thinks that families should be split and most refugee families would not be in a position to earn a living here.

Who would want this man in Government? Or this woman:

NZ First MP: NZ has ‘unconscious bias’ to male refugees

NZ First MP Tracey Martin has defended her party’s policy on Syrian refugees, saying the focus should be on bringing widowed women and their children to New Zealand.

Martin said she was trying to get the numbers to prove or disprove her theory, which was based on anecdotal evidence of the numbers coming into New Zealand, and of the people crossing the border.

At least a proportion of the increase in refugee numbers should be focused on families led by single women, Martin said.

Martin added she would like to see that “we aren’t leaving behind widows with children inside those camps because we think they need to have a man to be an appropriate refugee.”

Martin defended NZ First’s policy as being about doing more for refugees, which should involve bringing women and children first, and said Peters had “added on” his comment about Syrian men defending their country.

Asked if the men would get military training under that idea, Martin said, “I don’t really know”.

There seems to be quite a lot of detail about this NZ First policy that Martin doesn’t know.

“The comment was actually about a policy of women and children first.”

Asked if she wanted all 750 extra Syrian refugees to be women and children, Martin said no.

“I would just like to see a percentage of that dedicated to widows and children that have been sitting in camps for some time on the Turkish border – at least five years – I’d like to see those women given an opportunity.”

Martin said her personal preference would for at least 250 of the 750 to be families led by single women.

There was already a category within the quota of “women at risk” but Martin said that was not being as used as much as it could be.

Thinking before seeking attention on a very difficult and complex issue doesn’t seem to be used as much as it could be in NZ First.

The difficulty with the Left’s leadership

I thionk there’s two key things that many voters look for in political parties and in potential coalitions – a perception of competence, and capable and strong leadership.

The Left have problems in particular on leadership.

So far Andrew Little has failed to inspire as a leader. This is a significant problem for what should be the lead party in a potential coalition.

Winston Peters seems to be setting his sights high. It’s been reported as high as being Prime Minister for at least part of the next term. Peters seems to despise inexperienced wannabees leapfrogging his seniority. He seems to see himself as the de facto Leader of the Opposition.

New Zealand First is currently the smallest of the three Opposition parties. The Greens would presumably and understandably not be happy if Peters took a greater leadership role than them in a three way coalition.

But the Greens have a problem too – their dual leadeership might suit them in at a party level, but at a coalition level it dilutes their leadership.

Peters would not be happy sharing deputy leadership with two Green leaders who were at primary school when he first entered Parliament in 1978 (Shaw was five, Turei was 8).

It’s quite likely that the next election will be contested by John Key, undisputed leader of National, versus Little, Peters, Turei and Shaw, all competing for ascendancy.

When it comes to a leadership contest four versus one could be difficult to sell.

Peters vows to contest next election, unless….

This weekend NZ First are having their  22nd annual convention. For a support sized party they have done very well, recovering from a hiccup in 2008, recovering to get back into parliament in 2011 and building support in 2014.

Stuff reports: He’s 70, but Winston Peters has no plans to retire

Forty years after he first entered New Zealand politics, the NZ First leader is planning his next election campaign and heading into his party’s 22nd annual convention. Isn’t he tired of politics?

“Why would you ask that?” he chuckles.

“I’m 70 years old, that’s a fact. But the point is I’m in a job I can do and I get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

“I could give it up and my next big wish would be to spend time doing up boats and what have you. But the reality is, would I be interested after three months doing that? How many days can you go fishing?”

Bolstered by the Northland by-election win, he says he’ll stand again in 2017.

That will disappoint a few opponents but please most of his party, except perhaps for one or two with their own ambitions.

And Peters is pushing to build the party even more.

“This convention is all about two things: membership and money,” he says.

Head office will waive levies on electorates if they reach new membership targets. Peters is also a Facebook devotee. “We are the second highest on Facebook to John Key, we are past 40,000.”

That depends on who ‘we’ is.

The New Zealand First Political Party has 7,806 likes on Facebook.

It’s Winston Peters Politician who has 40,354 likes.

And other party Facebook likes:

  • Labour Party 40,322
  • Green Party 73,484

There is a lot riding on his personal appeal. Winston’s drive for more membership has been quoted as a condition of his carrying on.

Winston Peters has vowed to resign as NZ First leader if his party membership does not grow by at least 10,000 over the next two years.

In two years time we will be heading towards the next election. Will Peters stand by that? Maybe his new energy and charm will attract 10,000 new members so he doesn’t have to face that decision.

But if he steps down the forty thousand likes may step down with him.

UPDATE ALREADY (This is Winston): Winston Peters goes all-in on ‘tens of thousands’ NZ First membership increase

NZ First leader Winston Peters will resign if he fails to increase party membership by  “tens of thousands” in the next two years.

Peters made the pledge to become a “mass membership party” to reporters at his party’s annual convention in Rotorua on Saturday morning.


…in a baffling exchange, he immediately backed down.

“We are targeting tens and tens of thousands of party members…we think that is possible,” he said.

Asked if he would resign if he didn’t meet that target, Peters replied: “Yeah. precisely. Because there would be no sense going on … two years flat … do we have a target of more than ten thousand? Yes we do.”

Then asked to re-affirm if he would stand down, Peters changed his mind.

He answered:  “No. I said if we don’t increase our membership. Go through it very slowly … maybe I didn’t hear it properly. But I’d be disappointed if I wasn’t wrong to the factor of three times that.”

So now it’s just “if we don’t increase our membership”.

There will be no way to hold Peters to account on his goal – he won’t release membership figures.

So Winston’s rhetoric wins again, whatever he meant to say.

NZ First youth wing

Following on from Curwen Rolinson and NZ First which shows that Rolison has for some time claimed to be part of a NZ First youth wing and has been described in media as president of it for at least two years – Winston Peters has stated there is no youth wing and therefeore there has ever bee a leader or predident of a youth wing.

Rt Hon Winston Peters
New Zealand First Leader
Member of Parliament for Northland
7 JULY 2015

Statement on Curwen Rolinson

A remit proposing to formalise a youth wing is coming before the New Zealand First Convention in August.

Mr Curwen Rolinson was told countless times never to call himself the president or leader of a youth wing. New Zealand First does not have a youth wing in its Constitution, and therefore does not have a former or present president of such an organisation.

Wikipedia currently shows:


That shows the Youth Wing is a thing but unofficial, but Wikipedia won’t be party controlled so that listing may be also unofficial.

Just after NZ First made it back into Parliament in December 2011 Stuff reported in Winston gives up the good life to ‘fix NZ’:

NZ First ended the 2008 campaign a broken party when it failed to return to Parliament after Mr Peters was dogged with controversy over donations.

The experience led to some members leaving NZ First disillusioned and privately expressing their disappointment that Mr Peters could have avoided the party’s time in the political wilderness.

Former MP Ron Mark said Mr Peters knew the NZ First brand was solid but he needed to repair and rebuild it.

Mark got back into Parliament last year and was recently elected party deputy by the Caucus.

After years of being urged to start a NZ First youth wing, Mr Peters finally took that advice on board. “There has always been a love for Winston at the universities.”

In 2013 Rolinson and ‘NZ First Youth wing’ were in the news (Dominion): NZ First social media shut

NZ First has shut down some of its social media pages following a complaint about the leader of the party’s youth wing.

NZ First Youth leader Curwen Rolinson posted on Facebook that the party’s board of directors had tabled and accepted a complaint against his ongoing membership.

The board tabled the complaint on Monday night. It will be heard after the party’s convention this weekend.

Rolinson has been a member of NZ First since 2009, and was elected to the board in 2012 for a two-year term.

His post also said he had shut down the NZ First and NZ First Youth Facebook pages on instruction from party leader, Winston Peters.

“Accordingly, Winston has ordered ALL NZF social media pages to be shut down till this complaint has been heard next Monday.”

Peters declined to comment on the complaint, and there was no indication of when the party’s social media pages would be back online.

So Peters seems to have chosen not to comment on references to a youth wing then.

David Farrar Kiwiblogged on this with more details: NZ First youth wing head under investigation

Peters has promoted social media connecting with youth in a slightly different way:

Facebook election to find Winston Peter’s youth MP

New Zealand First leader Rt Hon Winston Peters will use a Facebook “election” to help uncover a deserving youngster to be his representative in New Zealand’s Youth Parliament.

Youth Parliament sees all MPs select a 16-18 year old to represent them in “Parliament” on July 16-17.

Peters was prominently involved in this:

That’s unrelated to a youth wing of NZ First, but I wonder if young party members like Rolinson were involved in making that a social media event.

In June 2013:

Back Benches – Youth Wing Special 2013

Our Panel: Young Labour President Jessie Lipscombe, New Zealand First Youth Representative Curwen Rolinson, Young Nats President Sean Topham, Young Greens Co-Convenor Lucy Gordon, and ACT on Campus President Taylor Warwood.

Rolinson is promoted there as Youth Representative and not as leader or president but it would be odd if this didn’t have Peters and party approval.

Curwen Rolinson

There are many other media references on this, as far back as July 2011 in Leak for Winston Peters:

About 300 of his faithful followers attended the annual conference and a greater number were expected today to hear the leader’s speech.

Most delegates were aged over 60 but the party known for attracting the older voter could also be fielding one of this year’s youngest candidates if 21-year-old Curwen Rolinson, leader of the party’s youth section, gets the nod.

In 2012 Frank Macskasy profiled Rolinson’s NZ First History in Interview: A Young NZer’s Thirst to make a Difference:

This online interview is with Curwen Rolinson, a member of NZ First’s Board of Directors; Leader, NZF Youth;  and “one-man nationalist revolution”.

Q: You’re a Director on NZ First’s Board of Directors. How long have you been a member of NZ First…

I joined up a little after the 2008 election.

I decided to go along to a local NZF meeting to see what the party was really like on the ground.

Afterward, Winston and I had a chat about tertiary policy and getting a youth wing going at university.

Also in 2012 in Otago’s student newspaper Critic

Critic loves to inform, so we talked to the Leader, and Troll-in-Chief, of Young NZ First, Curwen Rolinson, as well as “de facto Leader of Young NZ First Dunedin” Beau Murrah, about the policies behind the pinstriped suit and the smile.

It appears as if NZ First had an operational youth wing that wasn’t part of the party constitution.

Why Peters would worry about making the distinction now is curious – he might feel it’s embarrassing for the party that Rolinson has been charged with drug offences but Rolinson was an elected NZ First board member and obviously had close involvement with the party.


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