The joke’s on the nannies of Ratana

Ratana seems to get media attention due to being the first political gathering of the year, but it’s hardly a scene setting event.

Claire Trevett’s focus on what the nannies of Ratana laughed at trivialised what is in the whole scheme of our politics a fairly trivial event.

NZ Herald: Andrew Little survives at Ratana but Peters steals show

Andrew Little has survived his first address to Maori at Ratana but was well and truly upstaged by NZ First leader Winston Peters when it came to wooing the nannies.

Mr Little managed to get through his speech without looking at his notes. He even managed to get in a few jokes, saying of the prophet Ratana that he was “80 years ahead of Gareth Morgan. And he didn’t have a book to sell”.

However, he didn’t get many laughs…

Success at Ratana is how many laughs the politicians get?

If that’s the case Metiria Turei must have been the big loser, choosing to spit tacks at John Key.

But on the marae, Mr Little was followed by Mr Peters who had them rolling on the paepae with his first quip that politicians were “fast on the lip and slow on the hip”.

They were still laughing when he told them their koha “was in the email. We’re a modern party”.

Even Deputy Prime Minister Bill English managed to get more laughs than Mr Little…

That’s a serious dig being upstaged by dour Bill.

The nannies said afterwards that they thought Mr Little was a bit boring but gave him leeway as a first-timer.

They were far more enamoured with Mr Peters’ pitch. So the nannies will do their own annual review next year. Be warned, Mr Little.

Yes, be warned that some of the politicians and media think that Ratana is a joke.

But don’t be too worried about the nannies of Ratana. They’re hardly a pivotal political demographic.

RMA reform – same old opposition

Nick Smith says National is reviewing the most contentious parts of it’s last (failed) attempt at RMA reform and stated “National’s “preference” to build support beyond a bare majority” but “made it clear that the party was prepared to do so with just the support of the single MP of the Act Party”.

National pushes on with Resource Management Act reform is a bit contradictory.

After failing to gain the support it needed to pass changes proposed in 2012 during the last term, today National signalled that it could use its stellar election result to proceed – with little change.

Although Environment Minister Nick Smith said it was National’s “preference” to build support beyond a bare majority, the MP for Nelson made it clear that the party was prepared to do so with just the support of the single MP of the Act Party, which has long objected to what it considers to be an anti-development bias in the environmental legislation.

“Our first duty is make changes to the RMA that make the act work better for New Zealand. If we can’t get the support of the Maori Party and the United Future Party to be able to advance the reforms, then we will still be progressing with the support of the ACT Party,” Smith said.

Smith signalled that National was reviewing the most contentious of its proposed reforms of the RMA, covering changes to the act’s principles – a move critics have argued would aid development – but otherwise the tone of today’s speech was consistent with the last term.

“It’s consistent with the direction that was set in 2012, but there’s still a lot of detail in the amendments to deliver the overall package of reform,” Smith said.

He expected “intense discussion” over some of the “hundreds” of amendments to the existing legislation.

Not surprisingly the ‘Opposition” opposes it, for now at least.

Labour leader Andrew Little

…said the changes would do nothing to cut the price of building or increase the supply of affordable homes.

“National has spent six years claiming they will change the RMA to make housing more affordable but have yet to produce any tangible solutions. Nick Smith’s proposals are underwhelming and show the Government is out of ideas.

“It is critical that changes to benefit housing are not used as a smokescreen to undermine the environmental protection standards.”.

NZ First leader Winston Peters…

…said if the government was to curb rising house prices it needed to deal with speculation, immigration and a lack of construction.

“The minister’s planned changes to the RMA to address housing affordability do nothing of the sort, they are just a sop to developers. He is blaming the RMA for a high price of Kiwi homes, the lack of supply and making speculators rich as a red herring to National’s complete failure.”

The Green Party…

…said the changes would not build more homes.

“The Government has the ability to build affordable homes and address the housing crisis now but it is simply not doing it. New Zealand needs a major state home building programme, to meet the need for new homes and drive down high prices,” Green Party RMA spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

But the mayor of the major housing problem area approves.

The reforms would streamline “complex” processes for house-strapped Auckland, Mayor Len Brown says.

Brown said Auckland Council had been working closely with the government to find a solution to Auckland’s housing crises.

“From Auckland Council’s perspective, there is considerable scope to improve the RMA,” he said.

“In particular streamlining the complex processes councils are required to work within, reducing duplication and providing more affordable housing.

“I particularly welcome recognition of the needs of cities and urban areas, including housing and infrastructure, which the current legislation doesn’t cover well.

Wider support will depend on what changes National are prepared to make.

Radio NZ reports Smith’s RMA speech strident, says Dunne - Dunne has appeared to be peeved that so far he has been left out of the loop and doesn’t know if he will support changes or not.

He said he had thought the Government was moving down a more pragmatic path, but he was not so sure.

“I just don’t quite know what the intended strategy is here. This speech just leaves you wondering frankly.”

Mr Dunne said the speech was short on detail, so he was still no closer to knowing whether he could support any changes.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell…

…said he still believed the Government was willing to compromise, even though it no longer needed their support.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet, these things are by negotiation and I detect certainly a desire to work with us.

The detail and the debate is yet to come so it’s too early to tell how thios reform will be dealt with.

Peters slams Hager – “he blew it”

In a Radio NZ interview Winston Peters has criticised Nicky Hager’s release of ‘Dirty Politics’.

Hager’s launch timing naive – Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has criticised the way in which investigative journalist Nicky Hager released his book Dirty Politics so close to September’s general election.

Mr Peters told Radio New Zealand’s Sunday Morning the book was devastating for the Government but the information should have been drip-fed in small, consumable amounts to the public.

Mr Peters said he was not criticising Mr Hager’s integrity but the naivety of the launch timing.

If Rawshark had chosen Peters as his disseminator of illegally hacked data then we would probably have had the details drip fed for ten years with promises of back-up evidence that is never produced.

What I made of it though was, when Nicky Hager released it in the way he did, was that that was a very very silly way of going about it.

If you have this information, if it was as devastating as I believe it still is, then the way to let it go was to handle it in what you might [chuckles] what you might call a a consumable amounts instead of throwing the whole lot in front of somebody to devour and expecting to get a result.

That would have allowed Slater and National to refute each claim bit by bit.

Winston Peters: That’s what he did, he dropped it before as you recall the six o’clock news one night and he gave his opponents time to fudge the issue, ah you know to do the, sort of, the classic, the squid approach of cloudy, murky the waters so people will start to believe their defences.

So it was all there and he blew it.

Hager did the opposite to what Peters claims, he deliberately launched the book and promoted key points to deny the media and those accused time to examine or defend anything.

I’m criticising the enormous naievity of someone who surely wanted to get an impact as a result and to have this sort of behaviour stopped by going about it the way he did. He should have, surely he should have taken some better advice than that.

Hager is a shock jock author, not a question time by question time MP.

Hager failed at trying to swing the election, and he has modest and mixed success in the past with his books.

But Peters also failed to swing the election his way. And his drip fed scandals over decades have not often been very successful.

If Peters had been given the Rawshark material and drip fed it he would have had the same problem he often has – a lack of supporting evidence.

Why would the public have been interested in Winston drips when they were hardly moved let alone devastated by the Hager flood treatment?

Winston accusing others of murkying the waters is like the mudpool accusing the pigsty of being dirty.

Hager did blow his main aim, of swinging the election.

Peters has long blown smoke and failed to fire.

Listen to the full interview with Winston Peters ( 9 min 14 sec )

Winston waning

Winston Peters led NZ First to a creditable election result, but there seems to be little sign of significant achievement beyond that.

Peters kept pressure on Government parties last term but didn’t score any notable hits.

Some of his most memorable hits were unfriendly fire within. He excommunicated Brendan Horan from the party mid term and then ensured Andrew Williams would not survive the election.

If this week is anything to go by Peters is struggling to come close to his glory days in Parliament.

On Wednesday Peters dredged up allegations he made last term:

Rt Hon Winston Peters : If that is the case, why, then, was he prepared as Prime Minister to again take on a Minister who had been stood down, namely Peter Dunne, who leaked four times from the Intelligence and Security Committee?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : That is not proven. The member is making it up, as he often does.

Peters never proved anything, despite promising he had evidence in emails, and when nothing came up there he generalised to “communications” – but he never produced anything and finally had to admit he didn’t have evidence to back up his claims.

Yesterday Peters led question time but was lacklustre against Gerry Brownlee, where Brownlee dredged up an even older faux scandal of a ferry grounding claim.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE : Given that there is no decision to deploy troops to Iraq, I really cannot comment on that. It is simply speculation, much like the ferry touched the bottom. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order!

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is it not a fact that he as Minister cancelled his planned visit with the Commander, Joint Forces to the troops currently undergoing training for Iraq so that he could deny any knowledge of the true preparations for war that are going on?

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE : No, that is absolutely incorrect. I was actually recently in Halifax and Washington with the Commander, Joint Forces. Tomorrow I will be at the Devonport naval base for a passing-out parade for young naval ratings and officers.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I did not ask about Halifax. I did not ask about Devonport. I talked about the troops currently—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member will resume his seat. The question started: “Is it not a fact …”. The Minister immediately answered to say no, it was not a fact.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My fact was to do with a specific locale or site.

Mr SPEAKER : The member has had plenty of time—[Interruption] Order! I am on my feet. The member has had plenty of time to frame his questions. He started his questions with “Is it not a fact …” and then went on about cancelling a visit. The Minister, when he rose to his feet, said no. Effectively, he was saying it is not a fact.

Hon GERRY BROWNLEE : Speaking to the point of order, it is, of course, a very well-known fact that the Rt Hon Winston Peters has a lot of trouble understanding what—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! And that is not a valid point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Mr Speaker—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Is this a supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : No, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Then before the member starts, I just want to clarify whether the member is in anyway contesting a ruling I have just given, or is he raising a fresh point of order?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I am raising a fresh point of order, because the question that I sought to ask had to do with only one specific location, and I got two locations that were never referred to.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I have ruled that the Minister addressed the question. If the member has further supplementary questions, he should use them. But to continue to relitigate once I have given a ruling will lead to disorder.

Pointless Peters’ points of order after failing to score and points.

And during a later question he tried to promote a Member’s bill that produced mirth from the other side of the house but his move was soundly rejected. Peters leaned heavily on his elbow as he stood.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : In the light of that Minister’s answer I move—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! Is this a point of order or a supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Yes it is.

Yes it is what?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : In the light of the Minister’s answer, I move for the register for foreign ownership bill that is in my name be pulled from the ballot and debated right now.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member has been here a long time. He needs to seek leave to do that.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I have.

He hadn’t.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The member needs to do things properly.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Sorry, Mr Speaker. My apologies. I seek leave, in light of the epiphany that the Minister has just expressed on behalf of the Government, for the bill standing in my name to be pulled from the ballot and debated by Parliament right now.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I will put the leave, and the House will decide. Leave is sought for that particular course of action. Is there any objection? There is objection.

WinstonWaningPropped up on an elbow that may have bent a few times too many.

Now Trevor Mallard seems to have seriously applied himself to his new responsibility as assistance speaker (with ambitions to be the next Speaker) Peters may stand out as the sole cantankerous old fizzler.

He may manage to pull some scandal out of his hat this term but it looks like Winston is waning.

Petty Peters poops on flag committee

Winston Peters has announced that NZ First are withdrawing from the cross-party committee set up to decide how the public will vote on a possible flag change.

Expensive Exercise Not The Priority Now

At the whim of the Prime Minister New Zealand’s attention is now on changing the flag – this will cost us dearly, not only in money, but in taking our eye off serious social and economic challenges, says New Zealand First.

“There are many pressing problems to be addressed, with even the PM now acknowledging the scale of poverty,” says Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The birth of a new flag is being sold as the people’s choice but it is being commandeered by National.

“That’s the reason New Zealand First will not be sitting on a so-called cross-party MPS Group.

“A flag is New Zealand’s national emblem and any move to change it must go along an impeccable path.

“Instead, National has invited political parties that barely have a splash of public support. United Future could only rally 0.22 per cent of the party vote in the General Election and ACT had to have a helping hand from National to push Epsom voters to get a sole MP into the House.

“This ‘representative’ Group will decide on flag options that will go out to the public to vote on.

This looks like he’s playing petty politics, but that’s par for the course for Peters.

The committee has been set up to organise two public referendums – that will determine whether there is public support or not, not Peters deciding which parties should or shouldn’t be involved.

His is probably playing to his elderly constituency, as he often does, but doing it this far out from the next election seems politically futile.

NZ Herald reports: NZ First pulls out of flag committee

New Zealand First has pulled out of a committee which will decide how the public votes on the national flag, saying it was an expensive exercise which took attention away from greater priorities.

Leader Winston Peters said this afternoon the flag referendum will “cost us dearly” and take the public’s eye off more pressing social and economic challenges.

“A change of flag might need to be considered but now is not the time. Poverty and housing are at crisis level, it’s no time for a government to be raising a distraction,” Mr Peters said.

His party had rejected the Government’s invitation to nominate an MP for a cross-party committee.

Claiming “more pressing social and economic challenges” should take precedent is ironic from Peters who seems to spend most of his time pursuing petty political attacks.

Mr Peters said the process of changing a national emblem needed to follow an “impeccable” process, but National had instead included political parties with very little support in the decision-making process, such as Act and United Future.

Like that.

Prime Minister John Key said New Zealand First’s absence from the committee would not “inhibit the process in any way”.

And it shouldn’t. If Peters chooses to play in a different sandpit on his own that’s up to him. but his hissy fits shouldn’t prevent Parliament from continuing with doing it’s job.

David Farrar points out at Kiwiblog:

Peters has spent 20 years advocating referendums, yet when it is on an issue he personally disagrees with, he is against the public being able to have a say.

The public and the Government are quite capable of dealing with more than one issue at a time. Also poverty is not at crisis level. Peters is using that as an excuse to deny the public a say – because he disagrees.

Democratic principles and Peters are very loose partners.

Gander sauce all over Winstons’ face

Winston Peters, like Russel Norman, is suggesting the police raid John Key’s house. 3 News reports Winston, Norman: Raid Key’s house over hacker claim

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters and Green Party co-leader Russel Norman think police should raid Mr Key’s house and office if he claims to know who the hacker is.

“[Mr Key] says he’s not actually certain – another brain-fade. If you do know conclusively, you should say so, but he says he doesn’t know,” Mr Peters says.

Peters should be wary of bringing brain fades into the discussion, he’s not exactly as sharp as he once was.

It’s nothing like a brain fade to say that you are not certain whether something you have been told is correct or not.

Peters may think that rumours he’s told are sufficient to try and wreck political careers but many of his attacks are far from conclusive. Most seem to be little more than hot air.

Asked if police should search Mr Key’s property he replied: “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn’t it?”.

If the police searched a politician’s property every time they made a hearsay claim they would virtually have to live with Peters.

He’s probably made more unsubstantiated claims – trying to discredit and destroy careers – than all other current MPs put together.

There is gander sauce all over Winston’ face.

Air shot #3 – Peters versus Key

Winston Peters was the third in line to take a swipe at John Key over “Dirty Politics” yesterday and he was the third to miss the mark. He sounded more like Mr Cranky than the leader of the opposition he claims to be.

4. Government—Transparency

[Sitting date: 28 October 2014. Volume:701;Page:4. Text is subject to correction.]

4. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader – NZ First) to the Prime Minister : Is he committed to an open and transparent Government?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister assure the public that at no time did his staff provide inappropriate services to the National Party whilst employed at the public expense?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : That would be a matter for the party, but I do not have any advice or any evidence to support the idea that they have done anything other than act totally professionally.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am asking the Prime Minister about his staff. That is not a matter for the National Party. It is to do with his staff, for whom he is responsible.

Mr SPEAKER : The difficulty I have with the question that has been asked and the answer that has been given is that it is asking now for a level of specificity that cannot be expected to be given by the Prime Minister in light of the very open and general question that was asked in the first place.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question asked whether, consistent with open and transparent Government—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I have heard the question. [Interruption] Order! Resume your seat. I have already ruled, in respect of the first supplementary question, that in light of the generality of the primary question that the question has been addressed by the Prime Minister. The way forward is to continue to ask further supplementary questions but not to question the Speaker on the adequacy of the answer that has been given. I invite the member, if he wishes to, to ask further supplementary questions.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am not contesting your ruling on the adequacy—

Mr SPEAKER : Then I will hear the fresh point of order.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : My point was that the Prime Minister’s answer was that it was a National Party matter. In my supplementary question, if you look at it, I am asking for an assurance about his staff, so it cannot be a National Party matter—or is he condemned by his own statement?

Hon Gerry Brownlee : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. You would have to consider the entire answer, in which the Prime Minister said that he expected them to maintain professional standards at all times.

Mr SPEAKER : The way forward is the advice that I have given to the member. If he has further supplementary questions, he should ask them.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister advise the public of all the facts pertaining to Mr Jason Ede’s services to the National Party whilst employed at the public’s expense?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : When questions are appropriately asked, they will be appropriately answered.

Peters must know this sort of question is easily avoided.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister give the public all the facts about—[Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! The difficulty I have is that it was only during about question No. 3 when a Government member again asked a supplementary question without leading with a question word. We cannot have one rule for Mr Peters—

Hon Gerry Brownlee : Yes, but he knows better. He’s been here a long time.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I accept the right honourable gentleman should know better, but equally Mr David Bennett has been a member of this House for some time as well.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Consistent with an open and transparent Government, when will the Prime Minister give the public all the facts about his staff’s services to the National Party’s Jo de Joux whilst employed at the public’s expense?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have not seen any advice that would confirm that the National Party has done anything other than spend taxpayers’ money appropriately and legally.

Hon Dr Nick Smith : What did Brendan Horan say? Look at your own house.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is it not a fact—well, actually, we were exonerated, turkey.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! That is a good lesson to that quarter of the House of what happens when you get an interjection through a question. Would the right honourable gentleman simply ask his supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Is Jo de Joux, a National Party campaign manager, deeply implicated in improperly acquiring services from his office’s staff?

Mr SPEAKER : I invite the Prime Minister, if he wishes, to answer, but I cannot see any prime ministerial responsibility in that question. I will leave it for the Prime Minister to answer it.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have no authority for that, and I refute the proposition.

Maybe Peters is playing a longer game, or he is not as sharp as he once was, that didn’t seem to get anywhere.

He looks cantankerous and toothless. So far he has failed to step up into the opposition leadership vacuum.

Key had little difficulty batting away the third air shot at him of the day.

Question Time flop #1 – Winston Peters

In the new Parliament’s question time today Winston Peters began his quest to establish himself as the leader of the Opposition with a weak line of questioning that John Key easily rebuffed.

[Sitting date: 22 October 2014. Volume:701;Page:9. Text is subject to correction.]

6. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister : Does he stand by all his statements?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Does he stand by his statement of 13 October: “I would certainly describe my style as open and transparent.”?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Yes.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : If that is true, why did his Government withhold the two child poverty reports for 17 months in an abuse of the Official Information Act?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : The member really should direct that to the responsible Minister; it was not in my office. But I think I am correct in saying—I could stand corrected—that it was because it was a work in progress and there were particular reasons as it was going through that process.

So his first hit was aimed at the wrong Minister. Peters should have known that.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Having regard to the Hon Jim McLay’s comment in this House when the Official Information Bill was being passed, and he said: “The underlying philosophy of the bill is that official information should be made available unless there is good reason for withholding it.”, and that being the case, why has he admitted on 15 October to using delaying tactics for political purposes?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : I have not.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I seek leave to table the evidence that he did admit that on 15 October.

Mr SPEAKER : What is the source of this evidence?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : It is a Radio New Zealand transcript.

Peters must have (or should have) know that would be inadmissible as evidence to be tabled.

Mr SPEAKER : No. That is also available to all members. Does the member—

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Well, he’s just denied it, for goodness sake!

Pointless protest.

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I heard that. Does the member have a further supplementary question?

Rt Hon Winston Peters : Why are US congressmen kept well informed about the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations whilst New Zealand parliamentarians are kept totally in the dark on this matter?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY : Well, every system is different, so I cannot speak for what happens in the United States. But what I can say is that in New Zealand it has been a longstanding tradition for free-trade agreements to be negotiated behind closed doors, essentially, until the point an agreement is reached, because we do not believe it is in the best interests to be discussing those in the public domain because it weakens our bargaining position.

Peters will know that. Or should know that. He was Foreign Minister under the Helen Clark led government from 2005 to November 2008.

The New Zealand-China FTA was signed on 7 April 2008 in Beijing, after negotiations that spanned fifteen rounds over three years. It entered into force on 1 October 2008 (Wikipedia)

In an earlier question Peters tried to insert his influence once but it was dominated by Russel Norman questioning John Key about his contact with Cameron Slater with a strong and well considered point of order from Labour’s Chris Hipkins.

This wasn’t an eminent start to the new term from Peters. It was a fizzer.

Peters torpedos left wing options

Winston Peters appeared to promote a Labour+NZ First coalition option yesterday but it looks more like a torpedo to the left, especially aimed at the Greens, perhaps to try and pick up votes from the debris.

The main question is whether Peters was trying to be noticed on a day that Kim Dotcom was sucking up most of the media attention, or if he was trying to slip a positioning statement in under cover of the big news of the day.

Peters put out a media release yesterday afternoon - Alternatives In Election 2014 which praised both Labour’s David Parker and National’s Bill English.

When David Parker was attacked by a former business partner, alleging a breach of the law by the Hon David Parker, I was the first MP to back David Parker because, over an extensive period of time, I believed that he was a man of honour and integrity.

Similarly, I have observed the Hon Bill English’s conduct regarding the allegations in “Dirty Politics” and his reserve in the defence of the Hon Judith Collins’s conduct.

In addition on the question of tax cuts by National, Mr English’s aversion to claiming that they were possible is further evidence for me, that like Mr Parker, he has a certain integrity and honour.

Consequently, I see both of them as capable of being Ministers of Finance.

By stating he would work with either Labour or National Peters appears to keep his coalition options open. But he also slams the Greens.

In this campaign the Green Party has twice, for reasons best known to them, in essence led an assault on the Labour Party.

“Of late the Greens have been talking about being co-deputy prime ministers and wanting the finance portfolio.

“Does that mean when the Prime Minister is abroad we are going to have two acting prime ministers instead.

“This situation would be farcical.

“If the Greens think they are going to take over the levers of economic management they are assuming other parties are not watching their record.

“This statement in no way challenges the Labour Party’s belief that in the right circumstances they could form an alternative government.

“Voters need to be disabused of the view promoted by the Greens that we in New Zealand First would stand by whilst they promote extremist policies in government.

“This is not indicating a choice but the media seem to have overlooked one option entirely, a Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply.

“This emerged in 2005, has precedent, and it was a stable, successful government that delivered the greatest surpluses in recent years.”

Things were considerably different in 2005 when Peters shut the Greens out of Government.

Labour got 41.1% (to National’s 39.1), NZ First got 5.72% and the Greens 5.3%. Labour and NZ First combined with United Future (2.67%) giving a total of 49.42%.

Current polling has Labour in the mid twenties and NZ First 4-8%. Even if a miracle happens and Labour recovered to 30%, and NZ First climbed to 10%, that gets only 40%, well short of a majority. Greens (polling 10-15%) would be essential to get over the line.

Labour+NZ First is likely to be closer to 35% and could go as low as 30%.

“A Labour-New Zealand First combination in Coalition or Confidence and supply” looks an unattainable option. Peters must know this.

If Peters rules out combining with the Greens as he appears to have done here then he has only two choices – a coalition with National (possibly alongside Conservatives if they make the threshold, giving National alternatives) or going on the cross benches.

Peters must see potential votes from Green bashing. He has u-turned on his word before but he has consistently avoided working in Government alongside the Greens.

This looks like a torpedo to the left, conceding a left wing coalition is extremely unlikely.

Winston Peters on “baubles of office”

Winston Peters on baubles of office in a 2005 speech.

Peters – Who Will New Zealand First Go With?

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting in Rotorua, Wednesday 07 September 2005, at the Rotorua Convention Centre.

There is a lot of familiar rhetoric. Peters concludes:

We place the voters needs first – that is why it is the policies – not the perks of office, which matter most to us.

That is why we are your insurance policy – your only protection – against the political extremes of others.

Our policies deserve to be debated in this campaign, and now the voters know New Zealand First will not be in government – by our own choice – they also deserve to know that we intend to serve New Zealanders, as we always have, by keeping the next government honest. And to keep it from pandering to the extreme Left or extreme Right, and from within.

It involves for my colleagues a real sacrifice, but we willingly make it. For my part, I never took as deputy Prime Minister ministerial cars or a house, so we genuinely don’t care about the baubles of office.

We in New Zealand First are going to put New Zealanders first.

And yesterday Peters on baubles of office in an interview with Duncan Garner on RadioLive THIS is the Winston Peters interview you MUST hear!

Garner: Ok let me remind you then, in 2005 you said you wouldn’t take the baubles of office and then a few months later you became the Foreign Minister.

That’s what I mean you see, people get a bit confused, you say one thing and then…something else.

Peters: no no you see you’re not very good at English.

The baubles means, a bauble means a trinket not worth having, I never said anything of the sort but you interpreted that way and repeated ad nauseum all around the country.

Garner: But I was at the speech Mr peters, I don’t want to get into a fight on air about this but I’m just saying people are a bit confused…

Peters: …well it sounds like you do, Duncan you have been slagging off this party and me saying what I’m going to do when you know full well we have always had a democratic tradition of asking the full caucus and the party organisation why, because if you don’t bind them all into the decision because they got to make it why should they keep it? It’s called stability.

Peters also discussed this in a speech launching a book covering the 2005 election campaign:

Peters – Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

This book highlights the validity of the maxim never to judge a book by its cover.

You see, while the content contained within is meritorious and useful, the cover is both mischievous and erroneous.

While on the surface it may seem flattering to have altered the political lexicon, thanks in part to the publication of this book, it is really based on a false understanding of the term in question.

Indeed it is highly likely that future generations of political science students will reflect on the 2005 election – with its many nuanced consequences – and wonder with some bemusement why the term “the baubles of office” came to symbolise its outcome.

That was not the intention when it was coined.

As the source of the phrase, it was regrettable when the media missed the subtle irony of its use.

But it still astounds me that those among the echelons of our academic community failed to grasp the ironic value of the phrase.

We expect you to educate those who need it, not echo their ignorance.

You see a ‘bauble’ is defined as “a trinket or decoration not worth having”.

So to state that one does not seek to have something not worth having would seem a totally reasonable proposition for a politician to make – can you see the irony already?

There’s no evidence Helen Clark gave Peters any actual trinkets in 2005. Is that his subtle irony? But, ah, he made it clear what he meant:

And they know we are in this for our policies – not the perks of office.

We place the voters needs first – that is why it is the policies – not the perks of office, which matter most to us.

Some irony was pointed about by NZ Herald in Baublewatch: Eye on Winston.

This occasional column will note the “baubles” Mr Peters accumulates in his new, controversial role outside the Cabinet.

1. Base salary up from $120,000 as a minor party leader to $171,600 for minister outside Cabinet.

2. Access to ministerial cars.

3. Qualifies for a VIP diplomatic passport.

4. Overseas trips to Korea (last week) and Malta and the UK (this week).

5. A trophy photograph for his wall of him in the background of an international line-up with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Repeating the original quote:

It involves for my colleagues a real sacrifice, but we willingly make it. For my part, I never took as deputy Prime Minister ministerial cars or a house, so we genuinely don’t care about the baubles of office.

For Peters it involved ‘real sacrifice’ seemingly willingly made.

Another quote from Peters in his 2005 speech:

So for this reason I am announcing today that New Zealand First will not be going into a formal coalition with either Labour or National.

We do not think there is sufficient common ground to base a formal coalition on – and we are not prepared to compromise our principles simply to pursue the perks of office.

There are some important questions which follow from this decision.

Where does this leave New Zealand First?

We will be sitting on the cross benches.

No “formal coalition”. Cross benches. Perks of office. Baubles.

Can we trust Peters and his “subtle ironies” this election?

NO

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