Northland MP or grumpy old president?

“The Chairman is on his feet, will the member keep his mouth shut”.

WinstonPetersParliament

Winston Peters loved all the attention and the success the Northland by-election gave him.

The latest Herald-Digipoll adds to that, with Peters doubling his ‘preferred Prime Minister’ support from 5.9% to 12%.

But has it all gone to his head?

Something not many people will see – the media are unlikely to show it – is some of his behaviour in Parliament, where he acts like a cantankerous old git who thinks he deserves to rule, and who despises being told what to do.

See the video…

…starting from 1:56 leading to where Peters objects (at about 2:16) to a determination by the Business Committee of speaking rights for Appropriation Bill. Peters starts speaking from 3:40.

He displays disrespect and petulance. When told he could seek leave to the House to deal with his gripe it was objected to, so his acrimonious approach failed to achieve anything.

Draft transcript:

Annual Review Debate

In Committee

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): This debate is the Committee stage of the Appropriation (2013/13 Confirmation and Validation) Bill. The time allocated for this debate is 9 hours and comprises two distinct elements in accordance with determinations of the Business Committee. The first is the debate on the annual financial statements of the Government, as reported by the Finance and Expenditure Committee. The time allocated by the Business Committee for this debate is 2 hours.

The second is the debate on the annual reviews of departments, Officers of Parliament, Crown entities, public organisations, and State enterprises, as reported on by select committees. The time allocated by the Business Committee for this debate is 7 hours.

We turn first to the 2-hour debate on the Government’s 2013-14 financial statements and the report of the Finance and Expenditure Committee. The Business Committee has determined that the first call will go to the chairperson of the Finance and Expenditure Committee and that the total number of calls will be as follows: the New Zealand National Party, 12 5-minute calls; the New Zealand Labour Party, seven 5-minute calls; the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, three 5-minute calls; the New Zealand First Party, two 5-minute calls; and the—

[Interruption] The Chairman is on his feet. Will the member keep his mouth shut? The Māori Party—[Interruption] Order! [Interruption] No, I am on my feet. The member will be seated. [Interruption] I am on my feet. The point is, for the members who are present, that the Business Committee has agreed to a motion—particularly from the Opposition parties—so that this debate will have more meaning than they have deemed it to have in the past. It is a new process, and I am endeavouring to lay that out to the Committee of the whole House as we are now. I would appreciate the ability to continue so that members are fully aware and not ignorant due to their adherence to the ways that have happened in the past.

The Māori Party, ACT New Zealand, and United Future New Zealand may negotiate with the New Zealand National Party for calls during the debate.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I raise a point of order, Mr Chairperson. You may say that this committee outside this House decided this and it decided that, but the fact of the matter is that this House is the master of its own destiny and we will not be ruled out because of some arrangement made outside with House with which we do not agree.

If you could tell me how 14 members gets 15 minutes and 12 members gets 10 minutes and that is fair, then I would like you to explain it to me mathematically, but it is not. [Interruption] I beg your pardon? Have you got a problem with actually working out the mathematics on that? If 14 members—

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): The member should make his point of order or complete it.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: My point of order is simply that that ratio cannot be fair, that 14 members—sit down. Fourteen members getting 15 minutes would surely mean that 12 members are entitled to more than 10 minutes. It is just actually mathematic. So there, for a start, I do not think it is reasonable—

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): I do not need any further help from the member on this matter. Sit down. [Interruption] Take your seat. The point is that the protocols for this debate have been determined by the Business Committee. If the member wishes to seek leave to change that, he can.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First): I seek leave for New Zealand First to have, for a start, a fairer ratio of speaking time than that laid out by you in your little preamble.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): Leave is sought for that purpose, is there any objection?

There were objections from the Government side

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows):The motion is lost.

There was a ruckus at the beginning of the next speech.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): Order! Please take your seat. As I indicated earlier, the reason the new process was put before the Business Committee was to try to raise the level of debate. Let us see if members of the Committee can do that.

Then at 1:00 in the speech NZ First MP Ron Mark made a point of order:

Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Mr Chairperson. Sorry to the member for interrupting his speech, but you did make a statement there that has got me totally confused. When has there ever been a question about the level of debate in this Committee, and who does it involve?

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): That is not a point of order.

Ron Mark: Well, you have made a statement and it should be clarified.

The CHAIRPERSON (Hon Chester Borrows): Do not challenge the ruling I have already given.

An abrasive petulant approach to Parliament is unlikely to achieve anything positive for the Northland electorate, nor for the NZ First Party.

National and Labour down in Roy Morgan poll

The latest Roy Morgan polls has drops for both National and Labour with Greens and NZ First up. This may reflect the respective attention the parties got in the Northland by election.

  • National 45.5% (down 1%)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (down 0.5%)
  • Act NZ 1% (unchanged)
  • United Future 0% (unchanged)
  • Labour 27.5% (down 3.5%)
  • Greens 13.5% (up 2.5%)
  • NZ First 8.5% (up 2.5%)
  • Conservative Party 1% (down 0.5%)
  • Internet-Mana Party 0% (unchanged)
  • Independent/ Others 1.5% (up 0.5%).

National won’t be too worried with a slight easing but Labour may be a bit worried, it’s the first drop since Andrew Little took over leadership. It’s just one poll but the Northland rock and a hard place may have knocked them.

It demonstrates one of Labour’s problems – if their potential support partners go up they go down.

RoyMorgan2015April

Electors were asked: “If a New Zealand Election were held today which party would receive your party vote?” This latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll on voting intention was conducted by telephone – both landline and mobile telephone, with a NZ wide cross-section of 888 electors from April 6-19, 2015. Of all electors surveyed 4% (up 0.5%) didn’t name a party.

Roy Morgan:

Tracey Martin responds, sort of

Tracey Martin has responded to a post via Twitter with an attack on the messenger and no indication of what she disagreed with.

I had linked to Tracey Martin oblivious to NZ First ironies and contradictions with this tweet:

@TraceyMartinMP may have to step up but appears oblivious to @NZFirst ironies and contradictions

She two days later she replied:

@PeteDGeorge @NZFirst That is because they are neither – you have taken words and twisted them in your head to fit your picture, unfortunate

It’s unfortunate Tracey has chosen a bland attack on the messenger without addressing what she disagrees with.

She may have a point – this direct quote…

Martin says she’s never formally met  Hekia Parata but is critical of the way she treats other MPs.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools; the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te reo most of the time, is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

…may be more hypocritical rather than ironic or contradictory, given the way Winston Peters acts in and around Parliament.

And maybe it’s not exactly bullying when Peters makes serious accusations against other MPs and often fails to produce any evidence to support his claims.

Tracey can explain what she thinks it is if she chooses. I’ve offered her a right of reply to explain what she disagrees with.

Tracey Martin oblivious to NZ First ironies and contradictions

Stuff has an interesting profile of NZ First deputy leader Tracey Martin, who is a low profile contrast to Winston Peters. Her party leadership profile may step up a notch or two if Peters becomes committed to spending time in his Northland electorate.

So Tracey Martin – in Winston Peter’s shadow may have to change.

There’s significant Martin family involvement in NZ First, with Martin’s mother on the board of directors and Tracey’s sister works for her.

And there could be more as the NZ First board will decide on Monday who will ‘choose’ to take up Winston’s vacant list position. If Ria Bond at next on the list turns it down then Martin’s Mataroa Paroro, who is married to Martin’s sister-in-law, will get the opportunity to be instructed by the board to become an MP. That’s the board that includes Martin and her mother.

The profile paints a partial positive picture of Martin.

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.

Martin is consolidating a reputation in Parliament as one to watch, including nipping at the heels of Education Minister Hekia Parata.

But it also illustrates some irony and contradiction.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools, the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te Reo most of the time is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

Martin says she’s never formally met  Hekia Parata but is critical of the way she treats other MPs.

“We talk about bullying inside of schools; the abuse the Greens take, in particular Hekia and the abuse she gives Metiria [Turei] in te reo most of the time, is bullying we’d never accept inside a classroom and it’s in Parliament.”

Accusing another MP of Parliamentary ‘bullying’ and sledging while serving in Winston’s shadow is cute – Martin can often been seen laughing and cheering when Peters is in full fight in the House.

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.

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. ntsG came out as number two. nte

“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.”

Has she really not sought some level of power? She wasn’t promoted to second on the list and deputy leader by accident. If she hasn’t tried to get there she has been put there. It’s more likely a combination of both seek and having a hand up, despite her claims.

Martin is a self-professed feminist in the true meaning of the word.

She once asked her daughter what she thought a feminist was, she responded, “a woman who thinks she’s better than a man”.

Martin was quick to correct saying, “no, a feminist is a woman who believes she’s equal to a man. A woman who thinks she is better than a man is Mum”.

Regardless of whether she’s referring to herself or her mother as ‘Mum’ that’s an odd statement.

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

She’s in her fourth year in Parliament.

“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.”

Again that’s from someone serving as deputy to Peters, the king of saying anything to keep his job and do anything to keep it – as happened in the Northland campaign, where it seems the media is so used to Peters making outlandish promises they don’t take him to task for it.

Martin comes across as oblivious to the ironies and contradictions she illustrates.

Winston Peters apologises, pledges to work constructively

A very sober looking Winston Peters made several apologies last night and pledged to work constructively, first for the people of Northland who voted for him, second for the good of Parliament and of the country, and third to restore his credibility as a politician (Winston third).

Press Release
Winston Peters (NZ First Party)
31 March 2015

First I want to apologise to the people of Northland for using them as a means of carrying out political utu. I pledge to put their interests first and to work hard and diligently for the betterment of Northland.

Second I apologise the the Speaker David Carter for acting like a petulant child in Parliament and disrespecting the Chair and the House. I am sorry I acted like as bad a winner as Brad Haddin.

Third I apologise to John Key for calling him ‘a spolt brat’ and ‘lad’. I was the one who acted like a childish brat. I respect Key as the Prime Minister and work with him as best I can in a constructive manner for the benefit of Northland and the country.

Fourth I apologise to Andrew Little, who I ran all over after he threw Willow-Jean Prime under my campaign bus. He clapped me as loudly as anyone in the Labour caucus when I first rose in Parliament after my win. I thank him for what he’s done for me and humbly recognise him as the rightful Leader of the Opposition. I will go and talk to him about what I can do for Labour as soon as he summons me.

Now the euphoria of my grand triumph has worn off a bit I pledge to put the interests of the Northland electorate first and foremost, as I promised in the campaign.

I also pledge to start respecting the sanctity of Parliament and authority of the Speaker and act in accordance with positive and constructive politics.

And only my third priority I am determined to restore my dignity and credibility to the highest level it was at over the last forty years of my career.

A senior journalist, who wishes to remain anonymous, remarked “I’m shattered. If Winston reforms and becomes sensible, co-operative and constructive I’ll never get any headlines off him. Which politician will we laud over and promote now?”

How National can show they’ve learned from Northland

There’s many lessons National could learn from their Northland debacle.They’re at real risk of falling out of favour with the nationwide electorate unless they are seen to have learned, and are seen to rectify the exposed shortcomings.

These numbers in particular should be food for thought.

  • SABIN, Mike 18,269 (September 2014)
  • OSBORNE, Mark 11,347 (March 2015)

That’s about 7,000 fewer people voting for the National candidate, despite a massive campaign effort including blatant election bribing and scare tactics. And despite the fact that most people never expected Winston Peters to deliver on many some major promises he made.

Safe seats and safe vote levels aren’t safe. If pissed off enough many voters will punish politicians and parties in the only way they can, and that’s what has happened in Northland.

OnTheCanvas

Slater. Osborne. National in Northland.
Key and National in 2017?

There’s two things they could do straight away that would indicate they have learned and they are prepared to act on a strong message sent by the voters of Northland.

1. Be up front and honest about when they knew about the police investigation of Mike Sabin

John Key’s and National ministers’ refusal to be open and honest about when they learned about Mike Sabin being under investigation has been arrogant and dishonest, and has proven very damaging to their Northland campaign. And to their nationwide credibility.

And it is likely to get worse when details go public. Information is widely known but if the media and other parties become unconstrained by legal suppression then Key and National will be hammered even harder. Unless they own up and front foot this, albeit belatedly.

John Key needs to lead on this and be open and honest about when he knew and when his office knew and when his Ministers knew.

Otherwise the impression of him lying to hide a dirty secret will linger on and keep damaging him and National.

2. Show that they will genuinely engage with Winston Peters and NZ First on Northland and regional issues

Winston Peters won a resounding victory in Northland. Voters there expect something for it, and if they don’t get what they want National should struggle to win back what should have been a relatively safe seat. Peters has indicated he will stand again in 2017.

Genuinely working with Peters on Northland issues will recover some support and credibility in the north. Peters may still hold the seat – if he reciprocates and genuinely works with the National government – but National have a party vote to protect.

And if National shuns Peters and NZ First it will look like petty punishment of them and of many voters.

Peters has a major mandate in Northland. NZ First have 11 MPs (and could get a twelfth, Peters hasn’t decided whether to drop out of his list position and bring in another MP yet).

Key and National have to show they are prepared to put wider Northland interests and democratic interests ahead of political pettiness (as do Peters and NZ First).

And if they don’t?

If National don’t show they’ve learned lessons from their hammering then they could get hammered on a wider scale in 2017.

They were helped in the 2011 and 2014 elections by the weakness of the alternative. But Winston Peters showed that if a Government does badly enough and is arrogant enough then voters will reject them and take their chances on an alternative.

If National don’t demonstrate they are prepared to act on and rectify lessons learnt in Northland then they could get thrashed in 2017.

And they should be addressing this straight away, demonstratively. Or voters will think they haven’t learned or that they think people will forget their failures and mistakes.

National can and should show they’ve learnt from their Northland debacle – if they want to stem a massive loss of confidence in them.

UPDATE: it looks like Key is planning on continuing to sweep Sabin under the National rug.

“The Mark Sabin situation is something we can’t adequately talk about” – Key on Northland loss

There are some aspects he could talk about if he chose to be honest and up front.

Winston’s whopper win

Winston Peters has been given a huge victory by voters in Northland by-election.

  • PETERS, Winston (NZ First), 15,359
  • OSBORNE, Mark (National) 11,347
  • PRIME, Willow-Jean (Labour) 1,315

Votes for others totalled 403:

  • CARR, Joe (Independent) 107
  • HERBERT, Maki (Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis) 85
  • GRIEVE, Robin (ACT) 66
  • PORTER, Rueben Taipari (Mana) 55
  • PAINTING, Rob (Climate) 38
  • ROGAN, Bruce ((Independent) 22
  • BONNER, Adrian Paul (Independent) 17
  • HOLLAND, Adam (Independent) 14
  • Informal votes 43

Votes counted 28,468 – it was a big turnout for a by-election.

This is an election night majority of 4,012 which is a huge turnaround from National’s Mike Sabin’s 9,300 lead last year (52.74%of the candidate vote).

Percentages:

  • PETERS, Winston (NZ First), 53.95%
  • OSBORNE, Mark (National) 39.86%
  • PRIME, Willow-Jean (Labour) 4.62%

Interestingly that matches what polls had predicted for Peters midweek (53% and 54%) but shows an increase for Osborne (from 34% and 36%) and a decrease for Prime (10% and 9%).

Party vote in the 2014 general election:

  • National 17,412 (48.97%)
  • Labour 5,913 (16.63%)
  • NZ First 4,546 (12.79%)
  • Green 3,855 (10.84%)
  • Conservative 2,243 (6.31%)
  • Internet-Mana 601 (1.69%)
  • Focus 216 (0.61%)
  • ACT 162 (0.46%)

So even the small party vote reduced significantly. This time it turned out to be a two horse race between a nimble old nagger and a draughthorse.

NZ First didn’t stand a candidate in Northland last year so the candidate vote isn’t a useful comparison.

http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electorate-35.html

Polity picks Osborne in Northland

Rob Salmond, a Labour pollster, has picked Mark Osborne to win the Northland by-election based on National having a well organised machine in action versus Winston Peters with little established electorate organisation and Labour giving up trying.

Note that this was posted before yesterdays 3 News poll:

  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 54%
  • Mark Osborne (National) 34%
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour) 10%
  • Other 2%

But Salmond’s point still stands. There’s a difference between sticking one up National when someone rings and asks for your off-the cuff opinion and getting out and voting.

In Northland, the National supporters are organised by the National Party nationwide machine. Winston Peters’ supporters, by contrast, aren’t that well organised. That’s why they’ll likely lose.

And he details the reasons.

But this this by-election the turnout is enormously higher than in the most recent general election. It is *up* around 70%, compared to the general election just six months ago. Normally, it would be down 50%.

… where is it coming from?

  • Labour’s machine? Categorically nope.
  • New Zealand First’s machine? Nope. They don’t have much of a turnout machine.
  • Sudden discovery of advance voting by Northlanders over the past six months? A stretch.
  • Northlanders care much more about the by-election issues (bridges, arts centre accounting, ferry ride discounts) than the general election issues? Another stretch.
  • National’s machine? Yes. That is the cause.

So, my prediction remains a solid National win, not borne of popularity, but borne of organisation.

This is supported by a comment by a Labour campaigner:

Speaking to Willow Jean earlier today she says the Nat’s have a huge on the ground team, where as Peters has very few.

I don’t know if Rob’s prediction still stands but the result could be much closer than the poll suggests due to it being much less effort answering a question on the phone than going out and voting.

Polity: Northland: Countdown-to-letdown

Northland Poll: Peters 54%, Osborne 34%

3 News have just announced a new poll for the Northland by-election (although some of the numbers don’t add up).

  • Winston Peters (NZ First) 54%
  • Mark Osborne (National) 34%
  • Willow-Jean Prime (Labour) 10%
  • Other 2%

That’s a significant lead. But some of the numbers are a bit weird.

Can you trust Winston Peters?

  • Yes 43%
  • No 48%
  • Don’t know 9%

So 11% more say they will vote for Peters than trust him. It’s possible that voters on the left don’t trust him but put more priority on scoring a hit on National.

But more curious is the number who say which party they have switched from to support Peters:

  • 75% of Labour voters
  • 25% of National voters

In last year’s election:

  • National got 49% – 25% of that is about 12%.
  • Labour got about 17% – 75% of that is 13%.
  • NZ First got 13%.

That adds up to 38%, well short of 54%. Greens got about 11% and Conservatives got 6% which if all voted for Winston gets up to his poll support.

And if you take 25% off National’s 49% you get about 37%, a bit above 34%. This suggests that the poll isn’t particularly accurate.

500 Northland voters were polled.

The margin of error on a poll that size:

  • 40%-60% ±4.5
  • 25% or 75% ±3.9
  • 10% or 90% ±2.7

That allows for quite a bit of variation.

Regardless, Peters is well out in front. National will have much more organisation and help to get their supporters out the vote than NZ First who haven’t stood a candidate in Northland for about a decade, but it still looks ominous for National.

There has already been a much higher than normal number of people who have early voted.

Other poll results:

Are the bridge upgrades a bribe?

  • Yes 74 – percent
  • No 22 – percent
  • Don’t know – 4 percent

Do you agree with the bridge upgrades?

  • Yes – 58 percent
  • No – 39 percent
  • Don’t know – 3 percent

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/northland-by-election-peters-way-out-in-front-2015032518#ixzz3VNMuoXs7

Peters huffs pot then blows cold

Winston Peters is being reported as huffing hot on pot reform them blowing cold a short time later while campaigning in Northland.

Claire Trevett in Winston Peters backtracks on marijuana referendum:

NZ First leader Winston Peters promised to hold a referendum on legalising marijuana while campaigning for the Northland byelection, but rapidly backtracked on it straight afterwards.

Mr Peters was holding a street meeting in Kaikohe when a man asked whether he would legalise marijuana.

Mr Peters replied: “you want to legalise marijuana? I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I’ll give you a referendum and if the answer is yes, the answer is yes. I’ll give you a vote on the referendum and if the answer is no, it’s no. Yes if you’ve got the majority, no if you haven’t. That fair enough? Wonderful.”

Peters was shown on 3 News saying that.

But…

Asked about it later he denied he was supporting any such proposal or putting up a referendum himself, saying his comments were simply the shorthand required on a campaign trail. “I didn’t say ‘I’m going to give you the referendum. I said our policy is a referendum and if you want one, you’ve got to go and get one.”

He didn’t say either, but was closer to the first – ” I’ll give you a vote on the referendum “.

That’s a Clayton’s election promise – he’s not offering anything, especially after his backtrack.

He did not personally support it and had never smoked cannabis himself.

He was setting out NZ First’s longstanding policy that citizens’ initiated referendums should be enforceable.

That’s not how it came across at all. Peters is promoted as being very experienced at campaigning. He was initially misleading and then made things up to try and cover up his mistake.

NZ First appear to have no policy on cannabis. There is no reference to it in their policies, and their only policy mentioning drugs is under Law and Order:

  • Reintroduce the chargeable offence of being intoxicated and disorderly in public, to include intoxication from the use of drugs whether legal or illicit.

Mark Osborne seems to have a similar position to National, unsurprisingly.

For the record I don’t support legalisation of marijuana and won’t be putting up a bill for it; or promising it and then unpromising it 5 minutes later.

National appear to want to leave the current legislation as it is – which means leave the same mess in place. But they don’t refer to cannabis in their Law and Order policy.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,074 other followers