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.

Winston ‘Donald Trump’ Peters?

Winston Peters has complained about the amount of money that has been paid to Treaty claim negotiators. NZ Herald reports:

A total of $7.8 million has been paid to 13 negotiators, among whom are five former Labour and National MPs: Labour’s Rick Barker, Paul Swain and Fran Wilde, and National’s Paul East and Sir Douglas Graham.

Mr Peters then described the payments as “colossal and unjustified” to media.

That sounds like a lot of money – but there are billions of dollars involved in the Treaty claims and they can’t be settled without negotiating. Peters doesn’t seem to be suggesting any alternatives, he’s just making headlines targeting what he knows some people will be annoyed about. He’s Treaty bashing for political gain.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson took offence at Peters’ comments.

Speaking in Parliament last night, Mr Finlayson said the comments were unfair, disgusting, vulgar and crude, and accused him of an “intemperate attack” on the negotiators.

“These external negotiators are very good value for money, providing excellent service and are achieving results,” Mr Finlayson said.

“I say to New Zealand First that their tendency to personalise things and attack the individuals as they have done with my treaty negotiators is something I resent and something I think is quite simply disgusting.

“These people are good people and I am very proud of the work they are doing regardless of party or regardless of background.”

Mr Finlayson said John Wood, chancellor at Canterbury University, had done “phenomenally well” in two difficult treaty negotiations: Tuhoe and the Whanganui River.

“Mr Peters is nothing more than the Donald Trump of New Zealand politics who wants nothing more than a cheap headline.”

Always looking for opportunities for cheap headlines Peters responded.

Mr Peters lashed out himself saying Mr Finlayson needed to “get a grip and stop reverting to hissy fits every time some truth is told about his organisational spending”.

“Reverting to diversions and straw men in some vain attempt to avert attention from gross expenditure items to individual treaty settlement negotiators simply won’t do,” Mr Peters said.

“The public will want to know just what sort of complexity justifies those extraordinary costs and Mr Finlayson needs to know that puerile attacks on me are going to have no effect at all.”

Peters uses some interesting phrases:

  • “get a grip”
  • “hissy fits”
  • “reverting to diversions”
  • “straw men
  • “vain” and “attempt”
  • “puerile attacks”
  • “have no effect at all”

There could be some projection amongst that.

The Herald headline is Finlayson dubs Winston Peters ‘Donald Trump of NZ politics’.

For every Donald Trump or Winston Peters attention seeker there are a number of willing media attention givers.

Finlayson’s speech in Parliament yesterday:

Draft transcript:

Maori, Other Populations, and Cultural Sector

Speech – Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations)

Hon CHRISTOPHER FINLAYSON (Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations): I want to take a call on Vote Treaty Negotiations and thank the previous speaker for her helpful comments on the Post Settlement Commitments Unit.

She raises some very interesting issues, and I agree with her that early engagement, particularly with local government, provides opportunities and also enables issues to be clarified at an early stage, and that is exactly what I want to do on the harbours negotiations, which are coming up.

I also want to pay tribute to the Office of Treaty Settlements for their excellent work over the past 12 months. They are a very dedicated bunch of people, and I am very proud to work with them. Some of them also act as Treaty negotiators. So, for example, Ngāti Hauā and Heretaunga Tamatea were negotiated in-house, and that is my plan with Ngāpuhi as well.

But I do want to say something about the money expended on external Treaty negotiators, because of what I think was a vulgar, crude, and intemperate attack on them by the right honourable Mr Peters earlier in the day, where he said that the fees were colossal and somewhat bizarrely said that I was giving jobs to my mates.

I am very fond of both Paul Swain and Rick Barker, but I do not know that they would want to be called my mates. Unlike that honourable member, I do have great respect for them.

I asked Mr Swain some years ago whether he would like to work with me on the Ngati Porou matter, and he did such a very good job that I asked him whether he would work on some others. So in recent times Paul Swain has negotiated the Taranaki settlement, which will, hopefully, be signed in September; Mana Ahuriri ; Ngāti Hineuru, which we are going to debate for the first time tomorrow; and Maungaharuru-Tangitū . Mr Swain is an excellent negotiator, and if anything I do not think he charges enough. I have huge respect for him.

The second person that Mr Peters insulted was Mr Barker. I approached him after he left Parliament in 2011 and asked whether he would like to do a few negotiations for me, and he is doing a great job—for example, Te Atiawa; Ngā Ruahine , which we are debating for the first time tomorrow—so I am very happy to say that these external negotiators are very good value for money, are providing excellent service, and are achieving results.

I say to New Zealand First members that their tendency to personalise things and attack the individual, as they have done with my Treaty negotiators, is something I resent and something I think is quite simply disgusting.

As I said this afternoon to a journalist, Mr Peters is nothing more than the Donald Trump of New Zealand politics, who wants nothing more than a cheap headline.

These people are good people, and I am very proud of the work they are doing, regardless of party and regardless of background.

Another person that the right honourable member attacked this afternoon was John Wood, who is the chancellor of Canterbury University and has been doing an excellent job there. He was twice our ambassador in Washington, and he is an outstanding public servant who has negotiated two extremely difficult Treaty negotiations and done phenomenally well. I refer to his negotiation with Tūhoe and his landmark negotiation in respect of the Whanganui river.

These are the sorts of people I have had working with me over the years, regardless of party and regardless of background, and they are dedicated to achieving just and durable settlements for the benefit of New Zealand.

If the New Zealand First speaker who obviously wants to stand up next for his penny’s worth has any decency he will apologise to those people, because his leader’s statements were unfair and were simply disgusting.

The final point I want to make is in relation to reform of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act , because I do think that the Hon Nanaia Mahuta was a little unfair on that issue. This is the first comprehensive rewrite of Te Ture Whenua Maori Act for well over a generation.

The 1993 Act was never really fit for purpose, and so what we are seeking to do is take a fresh look at it. There has been an exposure draft put out to enable proper discussion, and there are lots of issues, and we make no apologies for the fact that there is a lot of work to be done there, polishing the jewel so that everyone benefits from the reform.

The Trump circus, the Peters circus, the Craig circus

The Trump circus continues in the US. It’s over u year until the US election.

They have just discussed it on TV One’s Breakfast. It was mentioned how Trump was getting all the media attention.

Who is giving him all that attention, and why?

The female presenter (I genuinely don’t remember her name) remarked that Trump was entertaining and she liked the entertainment.

I think that highlights the problem. Media are becoming obsessed with entertainment. Serious issues and intelligent analysis are diminishing rapidly as those who see themselves as entertainers (media ‘personalities) promote trite coverage of those who promote themselves as entertaining (joke political aspirants).

This is why Winston Peters and Colin Craig get so much media attention here. The entertainment industry see them as entertaining.

Perhaps the people will pay more attention to politics if we had Reality Parliament.

The running of the country would get even less focus and scrutiny but maybe that’s what the people want.

Same old Winston, same old NZ First

One of the few new aims reported from the New Zealand First conference is to rustle up more members and more money. Otherwise it seems to be same old Winston and same old Party.

Stuff summarises in Winston Peters jumps into race debate at NZ First party conference.

Winston Peters flung himself into a race row yesterday, suggesting Samoan-born Sam Lotu-Iiga was qualified to run prisons because he is Polynesian.

As usual, Peters was impatient with detailed questions from the media.

Same old Winston.

The “New Kiwi Deal” was repackaged existing policy, to pay the unemployed a “community wage” to work on tree-planting and river clean-ups.

Even MP Tracey Martin recognised the idea, tweeting:  “Been policy of NZ First for over a decade.”

“New Zealand First does not need to change its policies … All the rest might try now, to parrot what New Zealand First has been saying but they don’t mean it,” he bellowed in a 30-minute speech.

“A policy that is right for this country is never going to be old. The new part about it is we are going to make it becomes a reality. That’s what new,” he deflected.

Same old aim to make policies “become a reality” – isn’t that one of the main aims of all parties since forever?

Peters had already axed a proposal to revise the party’s 15 founding principles.

He won’t allow a rethink.

A plan to look at establishing a youth wing was unanimously agreed to – but Peters immediately indicated it would be vetoed.

Can’t have young upstarts having a say in the party.

From Peters bigger than democracy?:

Mr Peters also vowed to grow the party membership by more than 10,000 members, or he’ll resign. Moments later, he did a dramatic U-turn, claiming he didn’t say that.

He also took a swipe at one of his favourite old topics, immigration (from NZ Herald):

He differentiated NZ First by focussing on its two decades’ old call for low levels of immigration – and said there was no need for the party to unveil new policy.

And he went back a lot further than two decades:

Referencing the dire economic conditions that led to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s The New Deal, Mr Peters called for a “New Kiwi Deal” and a turn away from “free market dogma and neo-liberal dictum”.

The New Deal dates back to the 1930s – that’s even before Peters was born.

Same old Winston. That means same old New Zealand First.

Peters bigger than democracy?

The prospect of power seems to be going to Winston Peters head.

It’s good, even essential, for politicians to be ambitious. It’ doesn’t look so good when they appear to put themselves above democracy.

3 News reported: Peters: NZ First will decide 2017 election

At a glance that looks like a poor headline. Up until now voters have decided elections.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he will be more powerful than ever by the next election and will decide the next government.

Obviously Peters wants to hold the balance of power after the election and play National off against Labour, trying to use more power than the voters have given him. He may think he is due more power after the voters left him fairly powerless after the last three elections. But i a democracy parties don’t accumulate power credits that they call on in one hit.

Mr Peters’ first job of the day was to hurl criticisms at the media – “your polls are crap”, “stop this nonsense” and “you ask some stupid questions”.

And yet the media keep flocking to feed the beast.

Mr Peters also launched an attack on the Greens, saying it cost the Left last year’s election by attacking Labour, adding the Greens will be irrelevant by 2017.

His memory is different to mine. The Greens wanted to work closely in the campaign with Labour and look like a united option for Government, and Labour turned up their nose at that.

Internet-Mana scared voters away from the left.

While some vote for NZ First to stick one up National the fear of Peters overplaying power almost handed National a majority on their own.

But the biggest culprit of the Left losing last year was Labour.

“Every Green voter knows they can’t make it,” says Mr Peters.

That’s stupid talk. I think in general Green voters have more passion and belief than others – especially Winston voters.

“I expect us to do better than we’ve ever done before by miles.”

Votes are earned, not expected. It looks like Peters’ success in Northland has gone to his head.

Mr Peters also vowed to grow the party membership by more than 10,000 members, or he’ll resign. Moments later, he did a dramatic U-turn, claiming he didn’t say that.

“Maybe I didn’t hear it properly.”

He seems to only hear what he wants to hear. Maybe he didn’t think it through before making a rash promise.

Politicians need to be ambitious, but if they look too cocky, if they look like they want to overplay the power that voters give them, and if they make claims that they don’t mean then it can make enough voters wary to cause an electoral backlash.

Peters will be loving all the attention he gets at his party’s conference, but that looks like it’s going to his head and over inflating an already large ego.

One of Peters’ aims is to out-poll the Greens to give him more coalition negotiating power than the Greens.

Greens co-leader James Shaw tweeted: “Dreams are free.”

“James has been in the game five minutes,” says Mr Peters.

And Peters would hate to have to play second fiddle to a five minute leader.

Another of Peters’ aims will be to be in a position to play National off against Labour. If National and Labour end up close, within a few percent, then Peters may get away with it.

But if National retain a healthy margin over Labour and Peters negotiates baubles of power with Labour over National – and Labour will be more desperate to lead the next Government, then whatever gains NZ First might make this term will probably evaporate, and then some.

If Peters loses credibility again, alongside Labour, then it risks being a one term Government and if that happens it would likely be the end of Peters political career, effectively if not actually.

One thing is certain – there will be many more things in play than Winston Peters come the 2017 election. One thing will be Peters having to divide his attention between holding his Northland electorate and campaigning nationally.

Then there will be how well National weather their third term, whether Andrew Little and Labour manage to look competent, whether Colin Craig is silly enough to through a few more million dollars at an ambition that is now surely futile, whether a hacker feeds Nicky Hager ammunition for another campaign impacting book, whether Kiwis embrace the idea of a new flag identity, and other things we don’t know about yet.

Much of Peters’ success is being seen as anti-power, the maverick fighting against powerful odds.

If Winston promotes power hunger and power monger to much it could backfire on him and New Zealand First.

Democracy has a way of dealing to politicians who play power above the people’s preference.

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.

But…

…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.

The Dirge

I agree with Andrew Little about our second National Anthem, except that it’s worse than a dirge, it’s a dirge with embarrassing lyrics.

The Maori version sounds better, if we must keep The Dirge we should stop after the first (Maori) verse.

It’s good to see Andrew Little stand up for something better. Will he pledge to engage the people of New Zealand in choosing a new anthem if he becomes Prime Minister? If he was seriously anti The Dirge then he would.

And another view or two:

Winston Peters: “I’ve never heard anyone singing our anthem when they’re happy.”

Hmm. NZF opens conferences with national anthem every year.

Funny.

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:

NZFirstWikipedia

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.

Curwen Rolinson and NZ First

Curwen Rolinson has been associated with NZ First – as Board member for six years so presumably longer than that. He has been reported as leading NZ First Youth.

It’s been reported today that Former NZ First youth leader on cannabis charge

The former president of New Zealand First’s youth wing has been charged with possession of cannabis for supply.

Curwen Rolinson’s always been a troublemaker for New Zealand First and now it seems he’s a law-breaker as well.

Police arrested the aspiring politician on April 15, and he since appeared in court charged with possession of cannabis for supply.

Former NZ First Youth president? A press release followed soon after this news under Winston Peters’ name:

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.

So NZ First are disowning Rolinson? He has certainly been connected with NZ First, but  in what capacity?

Searching the NZ First website on either his first or last name gets no hits.

He posts often at The Daily Blog and this one yesterday (6 July 2015) identifies him as a past Board member:

This piece has been a joint effort between long-serving former New Zealand First Board of Directors member Curwen Ares Rolinson, and a mysterious Southern gentleman known only as “Eduardo”.

There he is “former New Zealand First Board of Directors member” but in an earlier post on June 18:

Curwen Ares Rolinson was once, thanks to the Prime Minister, memorably investigated by the counter-terrorism branch of the NZ Police’s Special Investigations Group as a potential “Threat to National[‘s] Security”. He also blogs regularly at a variety of outlets; and heads up NZ First Youth.

This had changed to ‘former’ by June 27:

This piece has been a joint effort between long-serving former New Zealand First Board of Directors member Curwen Ares Rolinson, and a mysterious Southern gentleman known only as “Eduardo”.

On his Facebook ‘About’:

Former Board of Directors; at New Zealand First

Here is his resignation from the NZ First Board on June 14:

The very first thing anybody learns about me – apart from, possibly, the fact I’m an Aries … is that my life is completely dedicated to New Zealand First.

Earlier this week, I tendered my resignation from NZF’s Board of Directors, in protest against what I considered to be unconscionable and dishonourable conduct from same.

Needless to say, this saddens me greatly. My service unto The Party, as delivered from that highest echelon, has been one of the highlights of my young life. The resounding recognition received for same from the thousands of Party members whom I’ve met at Conventions and in my travels across the land has been truly humbling. As has their supreme confidence in me by continually re-electing me to the Board for six years running. Who’d have thought a political party best known for its advocacy for the aged would EVER have entrusted a young lad of 20 with elevation to its highest body.

I’m truly pleased with what I’ve been able to accomplish as a Board member. NZ First developed a Youth Wing, a Social Media Presence, and numerous other 21st century innovations in no small part thanks to my efforts (although it is also VITALLY important to recognize that I didn’t do any of this alone, and that other people – in the case of NZ First Youth, DOZENS of other people – helped to make it all possible).

But regardless of whereabouts I wind up in the organization, my core belief – that New Zealand First represents the best, brightest, and blackest hope for our Nation’s future salvation – remains absolutely unchallenged.

There has therefore never even been the vaguest hint of a question about whether or not our fates remain intertwined.

To quote from my letter of resignation:

“Having said all that: I wish to make one thing perfectly and absolutely clear.

I am not going anywhere.

I still resolutely believe in this Party – its ordinary members, if not always its leadership; its Leader, if not always his martinets; and its principles if not always their practical applications.

My heart is still Black; and the linings remain – as ever – Silver.

I will therefore be continuing in my membership of New Zealand First, my activities in running the Youth Wing, and my public representations on our behalf through media such as The Daily Blog. […]

I hope by offering my Resignation […] that this allows us all to move forward in relative dignity; and get on with the serious business of protecting and saving our New Zealand, rather than wasting your breath and my sanity on continued factional infighting.

Our mission, here in politics, is bigger than each of us and any of us.

I look forward to continuing to play my part within it.

Yours faithfully,

Curwen Ares Rolinson. ”

The Age of Ares is over.

“Acta est fabula, plaudite!”

Curwen Ares Rolinson's photo.
Curwen Ares Rolinson's photo.

Oddly from the previous day:

On Sunday, at our Party Convention, I was once again re-elected to NZ First’s Board of Directors.

I believe my campaign promises included “levity” and “keeping the bastards honest”.

I thank the Party for its ongoing faith in me and what I do :D

They’ve voted for me en masse in each of 2010, 2012 and now 2014, so I must be doing something right :P

Confusing.

Rolinson was referring to NZ First Youth still on July 4 (last Saturday):

New Zealand First Youth meetup last night. We look like a goddamn boyband.

 — with Simon Oh Ionmhainèain and 3 others.

Curwen Ares Rolinson's photo.

The NZ First – Pakuranga Facebook timeline shows him as “Curwen Rolinson from the NZ First Youth Wing“:

NZFirstPakurangaFacebookIn March 2013: NZ First Youth denies pledge at odds with party

The president of NZ First’s youth wing has signed a pledge in favour of same-sex marriage.

It is a move that goes against the party’s opposition to the marriage equality bill, which is due for its second reading in Parliament on Thursday.

NZ First Youth president Curwen Rolinson was one of eight youth party representatives who signed a marriage equality certificate outside Parliament this morning.

However, Mr Rolinson says his youth wing’s stance is not at odds with the party and his signing of the pledge was on the condition of a referendum.

He has an unofficially connected blog called Putting NZ First:

PuttingNZFirstblog

NO COMMENTS:

So it’s curious that NZ First seem to be trying to distance themselves from Rolinson’s party Youth wing activities when he has been a Board member for six years.

And if he’s been reported as NZ First Youth president for years why deny it now? Of course Rolinson’s arrest could be seen as embarrassing for the party but a belated cutting adrift won’t change much.

Related post: NZ First youth wing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They must have been told the actual vote, surely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RonMarkStrange

“We don’t find it strange at all”

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

See for yourself –  a bizarre interview.

And the full transcript.

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