Peters slams dirty politics, then gets dirty

In an interview with Patrick Gower yesterday Winston Peters condemned dirty politics – with a strained straight face – and then threw some trademark dirt, making an accusation about Judith Collins without details or evidence. Collins has strongly denied the claim.

This smear from Peters appeared to be intended to destabilise National and was as NZ Herald reported “a move that could have been taken as an attempt to wrong foot Mr Key ahead of the debate.” Key looked far from relaxed during the debate.

Peters was first asked about his views on ‘dirty politics’, a topic he is very familiar with from experience.

Patrick Gower: I want to start by asking you about dirty politics and the impact of dirty politics on New Zealand politics. What are your thoughts on that?

Winston Peters: Well this is the worst that I’ve ever experienced it in my political career. Ah, it’s extraordinarily disappointing because it’s taking the focus off the key issues economically and socially of this campaign, ah and the sad thing is how many people are prepared to tolerate it or deny that it’s going on and yet it is going on and it’s serious, but I suppose the benefit is at least that sort of thing is being outed.

Patrick Gower:Yeah and obviously top of that list is the Prime Minister who doesn’t think there’s anything really wrong with dirty politics. What does that tell us?

It tells us that Peters and Gower discussing dirty politics is very ironic given their involvement in it over the years. 3 News and Peters teamed up before the last election to milk the cup of tea debacle.

Winston Peters:Well you know he claimed to have highest of standards and what we’ve got here is you know know something that’s ah, well it cannot be explained away, it cannot be ignored, and the Prime Minister needs to clean up that deck that he’s got and as soon as possible.

Patrick Gower: Yeah so with the Prime Minister needs to do something about dirty politics…

Winston Peters: He’s got to, that’s what leadership requires, if you catch people doing that sack them, you’ve got to, and you get a decision you know if you’ve got people like Judith Collins behaving like that then they must go, you can’t leave them there because it contaminates the whole political arrangement, and the image of the party. 

Patrick Gower:So what is Judith Collins staying in this position, staying as a Minister, what is this doing?

Winston Peters: Well it shows the Prime Minister is not really acting like a leader and he won’t like that.

Ah but more importantly she has been involved in, with others and outsiders that is from the National Party, and insiders, in the replacement of a lot of MPs, that’s why so many are going, they won’t talk because they’ve been offered jobs in the future if National wins, that’s why they’re keeping silent.

Ah but she’s been involved in their replacements, the choosing of candidates who are well inclined towards supporting her to be the next leader.

Several assertions there in typical Peters fashion. It’s unlikely he’ll try to back them up with any facts.To an extent what he claims here would not be uncommon in any party – NZ First have just lured back Ron Marks who is well inclined towards supporting Peters, and Andrew Williams has been dumped and is not so inclined to support Peters. Same for Brendon Horan.

Patrick Gower: So what Judith Collins has been involved in some sort of internal machinations, or back room manouvering…

Winston Peters: Well back room manouvering for the choice of new candidates of whom seventeen are coming in as you know, most of whom have been hand picked to be candidates because they support Judith Collins.

Peters is implying here that most of the seventeen have been hand picked by Collins. That sounds very unlikely. There are many others in the National Party who will be wanting to do their own manouvering – that’s politics.

Patrick Gower: So she has been rigging the candidacies or working hard to install her own people, is that…?

Winston Peters: Precisely. I have been in the National Party, I was in the National Party long before any of these people and I know what sometimes happens, ah but this is on a new scale that we’ve never seen before.

Patrick Gower: What is it, factionalism led by Judith Collins?

Winston Peters: Yes.

Patrick Gower: What, so there’s a Judith Collins, what what what exactly is she doing? What exactly is there?

Winston Peters: Well this might come as a surprise to you and I’m going to put it to you and nobody else has heard this, but I had back door approaches myself from the Collins camp.

Patrick Gower:What, what to do?

Winston Peters:Well if you can’t talk to John Key after the election can you talk to her. That’s pretty bold isn’t it.

You may as well know and that’s a fact and I’m giving it to you now because it happened. I know who the baggage person for her was and I know what’s behind it.

Patrick Gower: So you’re saying that someone from Judith Collins camp approached you saying if you can’t talk to John Key talk to her?

Winston Peters: That’s precisely what I’m saying.

Patrick Gower: That’s incredibly disloyal to the Prime Minister.

Winston Peters:Well, I would have thought the Prime Minister knows that, I mean if he’s keeping his air to the ground as he should be doing he would know that.

Patrick Gower: So Judith Collins went behind John Key’s back to say that you Winston Peters could negotiate with her rather than him?

Winston Peters: Well I didn’t think the bag man was coming without her authority.

Patrick Gower: So her bag man approached you?

Winston Peters: Yes.

Patrick Gower: And you know how do we know you’re not, you’re not making this up?

Winston Peters:Well why would I bother to make it up?

Why indeed. It could be that Peters is telling the full truth. He may be able to prove this – but he often makes claims designed to damage opponents without producing any evidence. Some would see this as dirty politics.

Gower didn’t quiz Peters, he just let him make his assertions virtually unchallenged. For example if this happened when did it happen?

To do this Collins would have to be incredibly brazen and also very naive and stupid. Incorporating a leadership coup in coalition negotiations – bartering baubles and Prime Ministers – seems preposterous.

There’s a few things to remember in the lead up to this.

Peters has put a lot of effort over the past few months in trying to destroy Collin’s political career, his brand of dirty politics. It would be incredible that after this Collins approached him proposing to do one of the dirtiest deals possible post election.

Gower is a willing part of this hit job. He has made it clear recently that he thinks Collins should be dumped.

Gower has also just promoted Peters as kingmaker on the back of a 3 News poll.

Something feels very fishy about all this. It may be that Collins has gone crazy in a quest for power.

Or it could be that Winston Peters is playing his brand of dirty politics, with the willing assistance of Gower.

Full interview: Winston Peters on Judith Collins and Dirty Politics

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  1. Mike Lynds

     /  31st August 2014

    The Epsom teapot tapes were nothing to do with Winston Peters. The dirty politics situation needs a purge and everyone involved needs rooting out.

  2. Mike Lynds

     /  31st August 2014

    Not really. Hager’s book has Peters on the end of Slater’s et all harpoons and Peters stance in the house over Dunne, GCSB and the Minister Collins and the PM’s arrogance over these matters were an attempt to uncover what has been dished up as fodder by this corrupt government. Peters has been right on the money which seems to dismay you for some reason.

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