Tracey Martin fed up with male dominated NZ First

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peters – late and cranky

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soon after that he put down an interjector:

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

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

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

Back to dissing:

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

What would Peters know about pathetic and ego?

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

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

The rest of you are gutless.

Yeah, in the face of brave Winston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clauses 1 and 2

Speech – JOANNE HAYES (National)

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

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

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

Clauses 1 and 2

Speech – JOANNE HAYES (National)

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

Tracey Martin: No. Noes have it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peters’ third reading flag speech:

Key rules out Peters power sharing as PM

In his weekly media conference John Key ruled out considering Winston Peters in any sort of joining Prime Minister arrangement in a coalition government.

Some of the media have been going gaga again over Peters potentially holding the balance of power based on poll results two years before the next election.While Winston as power broker probably attracts some support for NZ First it is as likely to limit support for fear of Peters holding National and Labour to ransom.

From the media conference:

Journalist: If New Zealand First hold the balance of power could you ever see a situation where Winston Peters could be Prime Minister under a job share agreement with the National party?

John Key: More chance of me holidaying on the lunar space station I would have thought. I mean just no chance.

Look, there’s just no way we are going to be having some sort of job sharing agreement with frankly a party that’s not even first, second, third, fourth in the New Zealand Parliament.

NZ First are fourth. Peters has stated aims of growing NZ First’s share of the vote substantially but polls currently show no sign of that happening.

I mean it’s just not going to happen. It would be totally unacceptable to the New Zealand public. Being Prime Minister is not something that gets traded away with a bit coalition partner just to get them over the line.

Journalist: It is fourth isn’t it?

Key: Well, ok. Who knows what it will be like in 2017.

Journalist: Would you have him in your Cabinet?

Key: Well they are different issues. We go through, we haven’t historically, ever had to form a government that’s had a formal coalition around the table since I’ve been Prime Minister. We’ve had confidence and supply agreements.

So we take every situation like that case by case. But we’re not going into some job sharing agreement, you know we’re not frankly some third world country that trades away because somebody wants to be Prime Minister that right.

I mean it just doesn’t, I don’t even know how it would work. What would you have, month about? He could take the weekends, give me the chance to have the time off.

But you know outside of that you know I don’t [hard to decipher] it’s a joke.

This arose out of an interview with Peters on The Nation:

…Mr Peters would not rule out seeking a power-sharing role as Prime Minister.

He refused to answer a direct question, saying such questions were immaterial unless the party got the kind of support it needed in 2017.

However, he pointed out there was precedent of the leader of the second biggest party in a coalition becoming Prime Minister – George Forbes in 1932.

Forbes was actually Prime Minister for 28 May 1930 to 6 December 1935.

Andrew Little has also ruled it out. NZ herald reports in John Key rubbishes idea of Winston Peters as PM:

Labour leader Andrew Little has also said any place for Mr Peters in a future Labour-led Government would depend on his support levels, but would not include the position of Prime Minister.

Peters is currently in England with the Parliamentary rugby team but there has been some interesting responses from other NZ First MPs.

Ms Martin said she disagreed with Mr Little making that call now.

“He doesn’t know who he has got to deal with [after the 2017 election]. It is a silly thing to do, in my view, it is silly to rule things in and out before the vote has taken place. You don’t know what your position is.

It isn’t silly at all. Voters want to have an idea what the parties might do if they get the chance to negotiate power sharing after any election.

NZ First MP Tracey Martin said the prospect of him asking for any position, including the top job, had never been discussed within the party.

“I think he is perfectly capable of being a Prime Minister. And I think that if the job came up and he was the guy to fill it, then I think he would do a fantastic job,” Ms Martin said.

“But the reality is, those are conversations to have after an election, not now. We just don’t discuss it.”

I don’t believe her. NZ First MPs and party members must discuss their aims and their possible power sharing preferences post election. And what position Peters and others are interested in.

Her response is just not credible.

NZ First deputy leader Ron Mark said opponents of the party were keen to play up the suggestion that Mr Peters could want to be Prime Minister.

“It is just mischief making. NZ First will do what we have to do, we will fight the good cause, we will fight for our party’s philosophies and principles all the way through.

“We will negotiate in the best interests of New Zealand, and that’s all I will say on that.”

He seems to have omitted a word.

“We will negotiate in the best interests of New Zealand First…” is surely what they would do. Any party would do the same. Claiming it is in the best interests of the country – especially if the party has 5-10% of the vote – is nonsense.

Peters and NZ First refuse to state before an election what they might negotiate on post election, so voters have no way of knowing what they might do. So NZ First doesn’t seek a mandate to do anything apart from whatever they think is in their own interests.

Peters coy on PM dream, Labour say no

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

Interview: NZ First Leader Winston Peters

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

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

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

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

Little shuns job-share idea

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should Syrian men stay and fight?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, it deserves ridicule.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The difficulty with the Left’s leadership

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

The Left have problems in particular on leadership.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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