NZ First firmly against foreign ownership

In a Q & A interview this morning Winston Peters confirmed that NZ First had a firm policy against foreign ownership.

Winston Peters says foreign ownership policy unchanged

Winston Peters has sent a strong signal that his party would stop foreigners buying property in New Zealand.

The New Zealand First leader says it has always been the party’s bottom line for NZ housing and farmland to be for New Zealand people. He said he would adopt the same view as China where foreigners cannot buy property but can lease it for 70 years.

Mr Peters told Q+A this morning NZ First doesn’t want NZ land to be “owned by everybody around the world – and absentee-owned at that”.

Edited video:  (Source: Q and A) Winston Peters says foreign ownership policy unchanged (0:46)

Full interview: Peters – Polls don’t tell the real story (11:10)

Peters didn’t quite say this would be non-negotiable post-election but made it clear it was a high priority policy for NZ First. He said people should check the NZ First policy. I checked for policy and other references to foreign ownership.

Policy: Housing

Ensure that New Zealand’s housing stock is restricted to New Zealanders

  • Non-residents who are not New Zealand citizens would be ineligible for home ownership except if a genuine need to do so can be demonstrated.
  • The terms and conditions upon which existing approvals by the Overseas Investment Commission for the ownership of land by non-residents would be fully monitored and enforced.

Policy: Primary Industries

  • An end to land sales to foreign interests, and policies to ensure the retention of the farming sector in the ownership of New Zealand resident and New Zealand farmers.

Policies updated 20 March 2014.
Further updates in the 2014 election campaign.

Members Bill: Land Transfer (Foreign Ownership of Land Register) Amendment Bill

The purpose of this Bill is to provide vital information on the extent of foreign ownership of New Zealand. This Bill proposes a comprehensive register of all foreign owned land in New Zealand. The register will record names and nationalities, the amount of land and value of land, and the regions in which the land is situated. Purchasers will provide the information for the register.

Media Release: Going Going Gone – The Kiwi Family Farm

19.02.2014
Rt Hon Winston Peters

“To allow one foreign company to buy 29 farms is a sin,” says Rt Hon Winston Peters, in reference to the sale of 13 Synlait Farms in Canterbury to a majority-owned Chinese company which was also allowed to buy the 16 Crafar farms.

“This is not foreign investment, it is the transfer of Kiwi wealth in wholesale quantities.

“Many of our family farms are disappearing. Young would-be farm owners are being priced out of ownership as foreigners are allowed to buy-up blocks of farms in one go.

“This Government clearly favours foreign ownership over ordinary New Zealanders and their dreams of doing well on the land.

“It is not a fair go for New Zealanders. There is no reason why these farms could not have been sold individually giving Kiwis a more competitive chance at ownership.

“The end of the treasured Kiwi farm, as the backbone of the economy, is nigh unless we say no to more farm sales to non-resident foreigners,” says Mr Peters.

Media Release: Another Rubber Stamp For Foreign Buy-Up

04.02.2014
Rt Hon Winston Peters

“New Zealand First wants a halt to sales of farmland to non-resident foreign buyers.

Media Release: New Zealand First Says No More Farm Sales To Non Resident Foreigners

09.11.2013
Richard Prosser

New Zealand First is calling for a complete halt to sales of New Zealand farmland to non resident foreign buyers.

Media Release: Go Buy American Farms Harvard

03.05.2013
Rt Hon Winston Peters

New Zealand First has criticised the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) for allowing Harvard University to buy a big dairy farm in Otago.

Media Release: Keep Crafar Farms, Appeals Winston Peters

04.04.2012
Rt Hon Winston Peters

Rt Hon Winston Peters has made a last ditch appeal for the government to keep the Crafar farms in the hands of New Zealanders where they belong.

This confirms a consistent opposition to foreign ownership.

Despite this we will have to wait until after the election before we find out whether NZ First get a chance to negotiate to play a part in the next government, and if they do whether foreign ownership of houses and land is a part of any policy agreements.

Shane Jones and NZ First speculation

It has been suggested that Shane Jones may be considering jumping from Labour and joining NZ First, as a successor to Winston Peters. That would enhance NZ First’s chances of making 5% in this year’s election. But is it anything other than speculation?

I’ve seen the possibility of Jones moving to NZ First discussed for months – and also to National. In many ways he has seemed an odd man out in Labour.

A blog post at The Conservative last week suggested Shane Jones belongs in NZ First.

Jones has been saying some good stuff lately and in a language that resonates with Joe-Blogg Kiwis. So much so, I question what he is doing in the Labour Party, and if Labour don’t watch out they may very well lose him to NZ First.

Whale Oil in Is Shane Jones rehearsing for leader?

Could he be auditioning for leader…and after today’s headlines is it for labour or for NZ First?

A comment by ‘gazzmaniac’ on Kiwiblog:

Jones needs to split from Labour and start his own party. Or join and lead NZ First.

‘MARC” at The Daily Blog:

Shane Jones should perhaps join NZ First or Winston First, and he would possibly be Winston’s most “suitable” successor.

Matthew Hooton has sparked the current speculation @TheNBR – Shane Jones plots exit from Labour. This is paywalled but Newstalk ZB report on it in Shane Jones may defect to New Zealand First.

Political pundit Matthew Hooton has floated the scenario in a column today in the National Business Review.

He says the maverick MP is becoming ever more indiscreet and he sees his recent behaviour as a pretext to either leave Labour or be expelled.

Hooton says Labour’s rainbow division, unions and women’s council all loathe him and he despises the Greens.

And he sees himself and Winston Peters as “two Maori boys from the North” who could hold the balance of power between National and a Labour-Green coalition.

Hooton says the plan would be for Peters, who will be 72 at the 2017 election, to hand over the leadership of the party to Jones, who would be 59.

Without any indication from Jones or Peters whether there’s any substance to this or not this can be presumed to be Hooton speculating and possibly mischief making.

UPDATE: Jones has just been interviewed on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report and he has fairly comprehensively denied any attempt by him or by Winston Peters to get him to jump waka to NZ First. He referred to Hooton’s speculation as, amongst other things, mischievous and scurrilous.

NZ First bottom lines

Winston Peters had a typically rambunctious interview with Patrick Gower on The Nation, but he did give some indications about NZ First bottom lines in any coalition negotiations.

In summary:

  • The Super eligibility age must be a bottom line.
  • Peters suggested NZ First has strong asset buy backs, foreign property ownership and foreign fishing policies but there was sufficient vagueness to be uncertain what exactly would be bottom lines.
  • Peters ruled out working with UnitedFuture or the Maori Party, the two other parties most likely to be in contention for coalition negotiations whether National or Labour form the next government.
  • Peters continues to insist that John Key has lied about Kim Dotcom.

Right from the start of the interview Peters made a point about NZ First not being a one person party.

NZ First not a dictatorship

Winston: Well first of all, I’m grateful that you said New Zealand First and not, try to personalize it as everybody else has sort to do. We’re a democratic party and we make decisions as a caucus, and as a board and as party supporters.

And again soon afterwards.

If your party is having its 21st birthday, in July of this year, which means we haven’t been around because one guy’s been running the show by himself like a dictator. We consult, we ensure that everybody signed up, even to these sorts of arrangements and talks…

On buying back power companies

So that means buying Genesis back?

That’s right…at no greater price than they pay for it .

And so does that mean the other power companies as well?

It means exactly that, that’s what our position has been for some time.

So that’s a priority for you in any negotiations?

It is a priority and it also has the best things in terms of economic calculations from treasury. If what they said about selling off 49% is correct then it goes for the whole lot.

So in terms of walking away, we’re not even walking in until we get what we believe New Zealand economically and socially needs.

So that’s a deal breaker essentially if either side doesn’t want to buy back the assets yet?

Well if either side prefers to sell out New Zealand’s long term heritage, then they can line up and find their own support. But if they want to line up with the mass majority of New Zealanders as the latest polls says on this issue of asset sales, then they can perhaps line up with New Zealand First.

So that’s a deal breaker, buying back the assets is a deal breaker?

Hang on; I’m not going to be sitting here like some sort of uh, star chamber, federal case in the United States while you think you’re going to nail me down. I think you need to understand one thing about MMP. And it goes like this. Even the old system went like this. The voters vote first, and then they decide in what numbers that the parties and parliaments are comprising parliament. Then you know what you’re dealing with. Here we are six months out from election. We don’t know whether for example National is going to re-nuclearise New Zealand so to speak. Or whether Labour is going to come up with some policy…

So that seems to imply asset that power companies buybacks are a non-negotiable priority – but we won’t know what NZ First is dealing with until the voters have decided.

It sounds like definitely, maybe. I don’t know how NZ First will determine from the election vote what policies to make non-negotiable.

On raising the National Super eligibility age

Let me tell you what happened in 2011. We saw a Labour party come out and announce an increase in the retirement age, and putting GST on, and taking effect…not GST no…capital gains tax on, and it would take effect in 2017. As for the increase in age…2021. We said straight away then, we can’t go into any arrangement with these people and so we made a statement and said we’re going to the cross benches between 2011 and 2014. And we did.

And that would stand again if Labour tries to change the retirement age, you’d go to the cross benches again?

Look, I think they can be persuaded, if that was the issue, I think they can be persuaded that that fatally cost them the election. All the old people coming near 65 heard was, not 2021, they just heard the age is going up.

Raising the Super age would seem to be a deal breaker, and it would probably be a party breaker of NZ First changed their stance on this.

On foreign ownership

Let’s look at foreign ownership and the restrictions on essentially foreign buyers or non New Zealand citizens. You want an immediate ban on them buying residential property with either government?

Look, the non-New Zealand buyer, if that non-New Zealand buyer is buying into a new business here to create new exports and new work, or to move their family here and put their heart and soul for the rest of their lives into this country, then we don’t have a problem as we didn’t have with the labour…

No ban if there’s business involved or for genuine residency, but that may be difficult to determine in advance and difficult to police. What happens if a foreign buyer says they will live most of the time here but travel overseas a lot?

Yeah, I’m talking about residential property, do you want to an immediate ban on non-New Zealanders?

Well I’m not going to stand around while somebody from off shore with 77 homes, and has now become a major landlord in Auckland and filtering in, and gouging money out of our economy…

That’s a sort of a “no way”.

Who is this person?

Well it’ll come out in time, but we’re a long way from the election and some of the doubters in this country are going to get some facts in this campaign.

With a big “but”.

You want an immediate ban on foreign ownership of property?

Well first of all I want to know why we have not got in place a land and house register so that authorities and bureaucrats, know what they’re dealing with and what numbers they’re talking about, rather than if they go around likening anyone like me to being xenophobic.

A register that determines detailed numbers would take some time (far longer than a coalition negotiation period) so this would have to involve a commitment to set up a register. But it’s very vague about what would allow and what would rule out ownership.

Immediate ban’s your policy, so you’d want that in place. That would drive down property prices. Are you happy with that?

No, with the greatest respect it would not. What it would do, you would see at some ends of the market…

No challenge to “immediate ban’s your policy, so you’d want that in place” but it’s left unclear and vague.

On foreign involvement in fishing

The fishing industry, what do you want to do there? You know a lot about fishing…

Well our policy is for the New Zealandisation of the industry, just like Iceland, just like Norway, who understand something about this. It’s Norway’s number one income earner, its Iceland’s survival. Here’s my point; we want the New Zealandisation of the industry, so our fish is caught by New Zealand boats and New Zealand fishermen and is added value that is packaged here and sold here and sold offshore. I don’t see how we can get any advantage from foreign crews sending the raw product to China, and have it tinned back to our supermarkets.

So how do you enforce this? You ban foreign crews, you’d ban processing offshore?

Well I’m not saying banning processing offshore; they will not take it off shore. But we’ll give them an exit strategy and make sure they’re compensated – but we want this great resource, which is ours and we’re lucky people to have it, to be part of the growth and the employment and wealth creation of this country. For goodness sake, the Maori people have got a sizeable chunk, as you know, of the Maori fishing industry and who’s catching Maori entitlement or Maori quota fish? Foreigners are. Who’s working on…

So would you ban it? Would you ban foreigners if they were taking all the chunks?

Well I make it very clear that our policy was specified that those days will be over.

Very clear that it’s NZ First policy but not clear what they would actually insist on and no indication it would be a bottom line.

The first option for coalition negotiations – the party with the most seats

Okay so in terms of negotiations you’ve said it’s a constitutional convention – your words – to negotiate with the biggest party first. That’s right isn’t it?

Look, as I said – and it’s all on our website, been there for 20 years – that we will negotiate in the first instance with the party with the most votes. That is in the first instance. But if there is no possibility of a sound coalition from them, then you would talk to others.

So that negotiation, does that mean a phone call, the first phone call? Or do you actually enter negotiations in that scenario and start to look at what policy gains you can get?

Well I suppose if we’re talking about logistics then it probably starts with a phone call, because if nobody is phoning each other then there’s no conversation.

Yeah but after that do you negotiate with that biggest party first, do you sit down and talk with them?

Well I think you’d have a preliminary discussion about what do you think your priorities are and what do you think ours might be.

So you would sit down with John Key for instance first before you sat down with David Cunliffe?

Not necessarily would it be a leaders discussion, because frankly, I assume he hires key people with far more experience than him in this matter…like Wayne Eagleson for example. Helen Clark had…

So you’d prefer to sit down with the chief of staff before you had even talked to John Key?

No I didn’t say that, I said the chiefs of staff would go across and map out the talking grounds. And then you might have the discussion.

I think it’s standard for chiefs of staff to set the groundwork for negotiations, and Peters has had a lot of experience in this process, so nothing unusual about this.

How far down this path do you go before you go to the other side?

Well ideally you’d start with one and you’d ensure that the other one is not left out. Because frankly…

So you’re talking to both sides…

If you cannot get reconciliation over here then you need to have some chance of getting reconciliation over there. As distasteful as it is to you, and others, the public is demanding a stable Government, and that is the number one responsibility of anybody in politics.

That sounds very much like NZ First will negotiate with both sides (National and Labour) from early on.

Peters’ relationship with John Key

I want to turn now to John Key and what is essentially your weird relationship with him. You’ve called him arrogant, pretentious, a liar; you’ve said his Government was incompetent; you said he worked in Merrill Lynch, which you called corrupt. You really don’t like him. Now, how on earth are you going to work with this guy, and will you make John Key Prime minister?

I’ve heard you burbling away on TV every night describing this relationship as toxic. You know nothing about it. Now cut it out. I happen to see John Key at the races, I said gidday to him, I see him around the place we say hello. I walked into a coffee bar and shook his hand.

That doesn’t sound like a close relationship, far from it. And it doesn’t give any indication of respect or rapport. Saying hello occasionally is not a political relationship.

You called him an arrogant liar, you think that he’s spied on you…

All right, well I’ll explain this to you. I’ll explain this. When he gave witnesses to that event about which he spoke I knew that person could not have been there, because I checked the persons diary and I thought well who else is the person making the information. But here’s the real point here. Of course he worked for Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch is one of the companies that brought the western economies to their knees. The global financial crisis was never a global crisis.

The upshot is how could you make him Prime Minister when you talk about him like this?

No, no I want you to have a debate where we have a chance to have our say. The western financial crisis has cost the world plenty. Now when I say he’s arrogant, he has been arrogant. He comes in and says I want certainty about the election I’m giving you September. This is balderdash.

Let me ask you one last time. Can you make the man you call an arrogant liar Prime Minister?

OK one more point. Do you think he’s telling the truth on the GCSB? Because there’s not one western leader who would believe…

You haven’t answered the question. But you’re saying he’s a liar on what he knew about Kim Dotcom aren’t you?

I am.

Insistence that Peters believes Key has lied about Dotcom

Yep. Will you make him PM then? If you’re saying he lied about what he knew about Kim Dotcom will you make him the Prime Minister?

Paddy we’ve got a long way to go until the election, and when it emerges that there’ no way the SIS and GCSB leader of this country’s administration, namely John Key, could not have known, I think you might look with different eyes at that matter.

Peters appears to believe that it will be proven that Key has lied before the election. If that happens then for Peters to be consistent he will demand that Key resigns.

If Key doesn’t resign before the election then Peters would be very hypocritical if he negotiated a coalition agreement with Key.

The only out here is if Key resigns than NZ First may then be able to negotiate with the new National leader.

Rules out working with UnitedFuture and the Maori Party

Can you work with UF in government?

Well, you know, can I tell you the truth? In 2005 I was the one who went to Peter Dunne and said to him, Peter do you want to be a minister. Not Helen Clark.

Will you make him a minister again in the next government? Would you give him the go-ahead?

Well no. Given how he’s behaved…

So he’s out. What about the Maori Party? Can you work with them?

I’m not working with a party that believes in racial separatism.

That rules out NZ First working with them but it doesn’t necessarily rule out a coalition with National or Labour that also involves United Future or the Maori Party. Coalition agreements are between the major party and individual minor parties. The minor parties don’t negotiate with each other, nor do they have to work together.

There’s no indication here a coalition arrangement that involved NZ First would have to rule out United Future or the Maori Party being in the coalition.

About your transparency now. You’re shutting essentially 95 percent, maybe 90 percent, of the New Zealand voters out of the equation with your balance of power. What is fair about that?

How did you possibly extrapolate this conversation to that extraordinary conclusion?

Because you won’t be transparent. You don’t say, you won’t say anything about where you’re going.

You see Paddy you’re back to you again. You’re not listening to anything I’m saying. What I said was that we’re going to see what happens in the next six months we’re going to ensure as a party we make a democratic decision that includes caucus, and the board and our support base.

So no more transparency.

Now the next thing is that the mass majority of New Zealanders, including 35% of National voters, don’t like the sort of deals you advocate. They think they’re odious. They think they’re anathema. And so do I. And one last thing. You must be much smarter than me but I’m not able to play cards I’ve never seen.

Asset sale buy-back and keeping the Super eligibility age at 65 appear to be non-negotiable.

Everything else seems to depend on what happens between now on the election, what the voters say (except they only vote, they don’t say what bottom lines they want)  and what the NZ First caucus, board and members democratically decide they want.

The bottom line

The Super age has to be a bottom line. Giving in on that would be like the Greens giving in on deep sea drilling, it’s totally against what NZ First stands for.

Peters working with Key would be very hypocritical. Peters claims that Peter Dunne lied and Judith Collins lied, and because of that he insists they should resign. Peters also insists Key lied.

The rest looks up for negotiation. Even apparent bottom lines could be fudged, like asset sales buybacks – there could be an agreement that buy backs be investigated and take place “when economic conditions allow”. Foreign property purchases and foreign fishing positions appear to be strong but they are vague.

There are only two bottom lines that appear to be certain.

  1. Leave the Super eligibility age at 65.
  2. Anything else is possible.

And the voters will decide one thing – whether Peters and NZ First get the opportunity to negotiate. If they give NZ First 5% little else is certain.

Note that this interview did not examine how NZ First might work with Labour, nor whether NZ First would agree to a coalition that involved the Greens.

Source of transcript- Scoop The Nation: Patrick Gower interviews New Zealand First leader Winston Peters

Winston first or Winston First?

Will David Cunliffe talk coalitions with Winston first or Winston First? Barry Soper at Newstalk ZB writes on Labour hedging its bets over preferred coalition partner:

 Labour leader David Cunliffe says the Greens won’t necessarily be the first cab off the rank if he’s in a position to form a Government after the election.

He says he’ll be talking to the centre left party with the most seats.

“I’m not saying that there’s any pre-ordained order. I quite expect that we’ll be in discussions with the Greens and there’s much we have in common. We may well in discussions with New Zealand First and there’s a substantial amount in common.”

There was another oops in David Cunliffe’s life earlier this morning when he referred to his possible coalition partner New Zealand First as ‘Winston First’.

“Winston’s a good guy but I’m not doing coalition negotiations before the vote and we will work with whatever cards the voters put on the table. That may indeed quite likely will be with the Greens, it may well be with Winston First.”   

It’s not clear from that whether Cunliffe meant he would talk to Winston Peters first, or mistakenly called Peters’ party Winston First.

UPDATE: I’ve now seen video of this and Cunliffe immediately corrected himself, following ‘Winston First’ with ‘New Zealand First’.

Reading Winston’s mind

Odd claims by Winston Peters aren’t unusual, but one he keeps making simply doesn’t add up. He makes an absurd excuse for not revealing likely post-election intentions to voters.

He can’t read the mind of voters before the election. But neither will be be able to read their minds after the election. And if he could it would make no difference – he will do as he pleases anyway.

Stuff’s Today in Politics:

Key running scared says Peters

Winston Peters says John Key is ‘‘attempting to master the art of mind reading’’ after the prime minister said he thought NZ First would choose to go into government with Labour and Greens. ‘‘It is doubtful that Mr Key has read not only the minds of the NZ First caucus and party members, but those of Kiwi voters as well.

It’s much more likely that National’s own polling is showing they are bleeding voters to NZ First, and he is now running scared.’’  Peters said.

Claiming that Key is running scared is whacky Winston waffle, but nothing more than preposterous posturing.

And of course Key can’t read the mind of NZ First caucus and party members, nor Kiwi voters.

Peters keeps refusing to give voters any idea what he would do post-election, using the excuse that he won’t pre-judge what the voters say in the election.

But after the election Peters won’t be able to read the minds of voters. He has no way of knowing whether they would prefer NZ First siding with National or Labour/Greens.

So fobbing of questions about his preferences or intent is just avoiding asking legitimate questions – the answers to which the voters should know before they vote.

Reading the mind of the NZ First caucus and party members is pointless – they don’t get to decide anything, that’s all up to Winston.

So Key is right to try and read Winston’s mind. And read his speeches. And read his accusations. (But not read any evidence because there isn’t any, he doesn’t back up his bluster.)

And it’s not difficult to read that trying to negotiate and work with Winston is likely to be a fool’s errand.

 

Winston’s crap – “but it works”

Winston Peters has once again made claims and accusations absent any evidence. He said Huka Lodge had been sold. When it was quickly proven he was wrong he changed his story. Now he says it will be sold sometime.

“While you’re here media, let me tell you something, Huka Lodge has just been sold to the Chinese … and I want you to go and ask John Key what role you had in this?”

What evidence does he have? If his past record is anything to go by, probably none. Or at least he is unlikely to produce any.

In addition to using a private company to score racist political points – Huka Lodge has a Dutch owner and Peters was complaining about fictional new Chinese owners – Peters made a very serious accusation.

“Was it not true, Mr Key, that you assured them ‘there won’t be a problem, we’ll smooth it out for you’?”

From  NZH Huka Lodge reps deny Peters’ sale claim:

A spokeswoman for Mr Key said the Prime Minister had no decision-making power in the Overseas Investment Act process, so any suggestion otherwise was “ill-informed”.

When asked by media to explain his comments about Huka Lodge, Mr Peters said he received the information from “an inside source” in the real estate world.

Peters is notorious for citing sources that are never verified.

I have a source that I can verify (to an extent). I quote freedom101 from Kiwiblog:

Someone who knows Winston well once told me that shortly after one of his Asian tirades he had bumped into Winston at the Koru Club.

“Winston, you don’t believe that crap do you?”, he said, to which Winston replied

“Of course not, but it works”.

Who is more believable, Peters or freedom101?

Peters has long demonstrated the worst of politics – lying to smear political opponents, lying to smear nationalities, making false accusations or accusations he knows he has no evidence for.

But it works, because enough of the media do exactly what Peters wants. They help him.

Hamish Rutherford reports in Stuff/Fairfax (with a Peters friendly headline) – OIO ‘pawn’ in a sneaky sale, Peters insists

Winston Peters is standing by his claim…

During his state of the nation speech in Takapuna yesterday, Mr Peters claimed…

Afterwards he cited real estate sources for his comments. “My informant says John Key has said to these people: ‘Don’t worry about it, we’ll smooth it through the Overseas Investment Office’.”

Later, Peters modified his claim…

It took until paragraph five before the claims were questioned. In paragraph eight:

“None of it is true, no,” she said.

So Peters gets his message across, and only those who read half way through find out he was not telling the truth. Peters didn’t “modify his claim”, he switched to another lie when his first lie was exposed.

But Peters was unrepentant last night, accusing the OIO of having become a “political pawn”.

Such was the paperwork involved, the OIO may not know the status of the sale, Peters said.

“It’s for sale.”

His speech was vintage Peters.

This is vintage media coverage for Peters. Perpetuating lies. Crap. But it works.

Another Fairfax journalist has perhaps not been in New Zealand long enough to be sucked in by Winston’s crap. And is perhaps a bit more rigorous with that vintage journalist ethic, checking facts, before running a petty politician pandering story. Andrea Vance on Twitter when the story broke yesterday:

So, fellow journos, is it not about time we stop reporting what Winston Peters says as fact? Huka Lodge denying it has been sold.

It’s also a pretty damn outrageous slur to suggest, w/out evidence, that the PM would promise to “smooth it through the OIO.”

Yes, it’s outrageous, but fellow journalists and their editors keep giving Peters an easy ride and the free publicity he craves.

It’s crap, and it works – for attracting readers. But it doesn’t serve democracy or Huka Lodge or Chinese people well. For that it’s really crap.

Key on governing with Winston Peters

John Key is not confident about a governing arrangement with Winston Peters, and if it happened it is more likely Peters would become a minister outside the Cabinet.

From Nine to Noon on Radio NZ:

The Prime Minister is not confident New Zealand First would support a National-led Government after this year’s general election.

John Key told Radio New Zealand National’s Nine to Noon programme on Wednesday he also believes there is a chance New Zealand First will not win enough votes to get back into Parliament.

Mr Key says if New Zealand First does get back into Parliament and National requires its support to govern he is not sure its leader, Winston Peters, would do a deal to be part of the Government.

“Whether he in the final analysis would ever come with us is very uncertain,” he says. “My own personal view, and it’s not necessarily supported by all of my senior ministers, is he’s only at best likely to abstain.”

The Prime Minister says if Mr Peters did agree to support the Government it is more likely he would become a minister outside the Cabinet.

Audio: Listen to John Key on Nine to Noon ( 29 min 50 sec )

Cunliffe joins Dotcom conspiracy campaign

David Cunliffe has jumped on the conspiracy theory bandwagon with Winston Peters and Kim Dotocm. This fits with Labour tactics over the last week, but it has major risks for Cunliffe and Labour.

Suspicions from Cunliffe over how Govt knew of Dotcom visits

David Cunliffe has suspicions the Government’s paying someone to keep tabs on other Party leaders, following revelations of Winston Peters visiting the Dotcom mansion.

John Key has admitted he heard about the visits from right-wing blogger Cameron Slater.

Mr Cunliffe doesn’t believe it’s as innocent as that.

“More likely it’s some form of private individual and one can only speculate of the relationship between the National Party, that blogger and whoever else is doing the work.”

David Cunliffe wants to know where the information came from in the first place – and if MPs have been tailed.

“The Prime Minister probably said it as a way of trying to establish that he wasn’t abusing the powers of the GCSB and the SIS…and if it wasn’t the public agencies essentially undertaking surveillance on Members of Parliament, who did it? And who paid for it?”

At least Cunliffe seems to have discounted the absurd GCSB > John Key > Whale Oil line of attack.

But suggesting the Prime Minister pays for MPs to be tailed by private investigators is just about as absurd.

The visits admitted by Winston Peters were over a two year period. Does Cunliffe seriously think Key could have been having him tailed for that long?

Of course he doesn’t think that. He’s just trying to mischievously suggest nonsense to try and taint Key.

This suggests that Cunliffe has given his approval to Labour’s anti-Key pro-Dotcom campaign being executed by Trevor Mallard, Grant Robertson and a number of bloggers.

I thought Cunliffe would have been better than that, but apparently not.  It looks like Cunliffe is cosying up to Kim Dotcom because he thinks he can gain some political mileage out of it.

That’s very risky. Peters only has to appeal to a small percentage of conspiracy lovers. Cunliffe has a stated ambition of competing with and matching National level support.

Cunliffe risks moving closer to NZ First level support instead.

Winston’s Dotcom visit source revealed

John Key seems to have revealed what was obvious to just about everyone except try hard Labour activists and Winston Peters – he learnt about Winston Peters visiting Kim Dotcom from Whale Oil.

So the PM just more or less admitted @Whaleoil was his source on Winston Peters’ visit to the Dotcom mansion. They speak regularly.

Whale Oil has been hinting at politicians visiting Dotcom for months and has blogged about the Peters three visits all week, so this is hardly surprising.

It was as much a revelation as the Pope suddenly discovering something that was said in the bible.

Meanwhile Rachel Glucina, the journalist who broke the story last Friday,  hints at her possible sources in her column today. First some self praise:

The Diary broke the news that Russel Norman visited the Dotcom mansion twice to talk the millionaire out of setting up a political party. This column also busted Don Brash making a visit, and Winston Peters, who dropped around three times.

Some more gossip:

Labour MP Clare Curran, who hails from the Deep South, was at Dotcom’s Coatesville estate “at least twice, and once with a large suitcase”, a source said. She caught a taxi once and was chauffeured another time. But why the baggage?

You can fit a lot of cash in a large suitcase (but that’s a Mallard type insinuation).

BAD NEWS KEEPS FOLLOWING KIM

Dotcom has endured abysmal album reviews, a botched foray into politics, a broken ankle and MP mates scarpering for cover. His bodyguard Wayne Tempero left his employ in October, and now four security men have walked off the job. They resigned last Saturday.

Dotcom is relying on the strict enforcement of confidentiality agreements to ensure former employees won’t squeal and reveal anything private.

“They resigned because they have had a better job offer,” he told The Diary.

As for Tempero, Dotcom admits he could no longer afford to pay him what he was earning. “Wayne resigned because he was getting half the pay of what he was getting two years ago and he couldn’t sustain that. He is starting his own company. We are still friends.”

“Four security men” and…

Ask John Key how he knew about Winston Peters visiting the mansion 3 times. Only 4 people knew about it & probably Ian Fletcher at the GCSB.

…is obviously a coincidence but it only takes one talkative person. Tweeted on Wednesday:

@patrickgowernz Chase the disillusioned former employees. They tend to talk.

 

Is National+NZ First now more than “very unlikely”?

Never say never in politics. But John Key’s “very unlikely” regarding talking to Winston Peters after the election is surely being re-assessed.

Three weeks ago Key stated the chances of National working with New Zealand First (which means Peters):

Mr Key said a post-election working relationship was very unlikely with Winston Peters’ NZ First but would not rule the possibility out ahead of the election.

“In 2008 we ruled them out because we were unable to reconcile some of their statements on the Glenn donation matter. Six years has passed and, should New Zealand First be returned to Parliament, we would not rule out a discussion after the election.”

It seems clearer than ever from revelations over the last few days that Peters shares a common obsession with Kim Dotcom – they both want to bring down Key’s Government.

Yesterday Peters accused Key of using the GCSB to spy on him. In a media release yesterday:

 

Mr Peters says National Party sources obviously knew of the three meetings and this points to information being passed to and from the top floor of the Beehive.

“Does this mean that some New Zealand politicians are now under surveillance? Exactly when did the Prime Minister authorise someone to keep tabs on me?

“New Zealanders should be outraged that a former Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and Opposition party leader has apparently been spied on,” says Mr Peters.

That’s either delusional or just another cynical attempt at the (many attempts at) destructive politics that Peters is infamous for.

Asked if he has any sources to back up the spying claims, Peters said:

“You will see in the fullness of time. Don’t worry about it.”

With Peters that probably means he has no evidence. He is well known to lie or falsely imply he has evidence to back up his attacks. He tries to flush out evidence and admissions through bluster and blatant dishonesty.

It must be very likely that Key’s “very unlikely” assessment of working with Winston is on shaky grounds.

Unlike that chances of Peters backing up his latest accusations that is something we will see in the fullness of time. Key will be hoping the voters make the decision for him.

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