Where’s Winston?

Winston Peters has been largely shut out of the political limelight over that past month, with a number of dramatic happenings and shifts dominating the coverage.

From Tracy Watkins: Five questions to get you through the next week on the campaign trail


It’s the burning question on the campaign trail this week. Peters refused to front for TV3’s The Nation minor party leaders’ debate – though that’s just the usual Peters sulk about being ranked with the other minor parties.

The NZ First leader resurfaced briefly for a Business NZ conference where he took a pop at English for “arrogance” over his comments about not letting Peters be anywhere near monetary policy.

But Peters has otherwise been strangely low key, with various stories doing the round including that he’s been shacked up at his bach up North. Everyone’s remarking about it because up till a few weeks ago, Peters was everywhere, and had an opinion on everything.

But the most likely explanation is that Peters is biding his time, having been round long enough to know that anything he does or says now would be a wasted effort while so much attention is focused on Ardern.

Peters is also canny enough to be using this opportunity to shore up his support in the Northland seat, knowing that further down the track in the campaign he will need to be doing more on the national stage.

Peters is well practiced at picking his moment. That moment can come well into a campaign, as happened when he capitalised on the Key-Banks cup of tea nonsense in 2011, about two weeks out from the election.

None of the big things have played into Winston’s hands so far since a surtge in the polls for NZ First reversed when Andrew Little stepped down and Jacinda Ardern jumped up, sucking much of the smaller party opportunities off them.

Winston’s chance may still come, and if it does he will jump at it, but for now he is looking faded and jaded. He needs something to rejuvenate his campaign.

He is three years older than his last successful campaign, and unlike 2014 he has to split his efforts between trying to retain the Northland electorate he won in a by-election plus promote his party vote country wide.

Perhaps he is pacing himself for a final push, or perhaps he has run out of wind.

It has been reported that he has given up smoking, if he has done that recently that could be impacting on his health and his attitude, it can be very stressful on it’s own without also trying to win an electorate and an election.

He rode on the back of a huge media gift of attention to win Northland, but there is none of that this time.

I haven’t seen any sign of how that is going for him or for National.


  1. Tipene

     /  August 26, 2017

    In my observation, what is remarkable is how diverse the NZ First constituency actually is, and how much cross-cultural support NZ First has. Check this out:


  2. sorethumb

     /  August 26, 2017

    NZ First is in a hole : “is NZ First racist?” (or not).The fact is old NZ became new NZ thanks to globalisation. One of the key differences is that real estate went global and with it the quality of life and feeling of belonging. Some benefitted; some lost The younger generation don’t know any different. The establishment is 85% globalist.

    • sorethumb

       /  August 26, 2017

      Politics is all about controlling a narrative (and drowning/banning opponents).

  3. Find which pub he’s in.
    And remind him that the gravy train is passing him by

  4. Brown

     /  August 26, 2017

    He’s sounding old, tired and has lost the keen edge in my view. He’s a ”has been” and when he’s made a hash of this election he’ll be gone for good. Every dog has its day but tomorrow will not be Winston’s no matter what baubles he gets in the short term.

    • sorethumb

       /  August 26, 2017

      I think NZ First never developed it’s own counter narrative.
      NZ First received savage (expert) criticism eg
      John Carran, 2 April 1996
      “Vehement opposition to immigration, particularly from Asian countries, in New Zealand from an ill-informed and xenophobic rabble persists despite overwhelming evidence that immigration will improve our long term economic prospects.
      In 1988 The Institute of Policy Studies published detailed research by Jacques Poot, Ganesh Nana and Bryan Philpott on the effects of migration on the New Zealand economy. The research, which abstracted from the social and environmental impact of immigration, concluded that “…a significant migration inflow can be beneficial to the performance of the New Zealand economy and subsequent consumption and income levels.” The authors point out that this is in general agreement with Australian research on the economic consequences of immigration.

      Of course there is more to life than attaining economic excellence. The social and environmental impact of immigration also needs to be considered. But here the reasons given for restricting immigration range from pathetic to extremely dodgy. Most of the accusations are barely disguised racist piffle backed by tenuous rumours and cloudy anecdotes. Winston Peters’ stirring of the masses has exposed the ignorance and racial biases of a small and distasteful section of New Zealand society. These people yearn for a cloistered, inhibited, white (with a bit of brown at the edges) dominated utopia fondly envisaged by racists and xenophobes everywhere.

      And then there was the criticism from the left from Paul Spoonley, Marcus Lush, Keith Ng: “Mr Browen: Hug” . As I said above they are still at (in MSM, anyway): “is NZ First racist?”
      [ ]

  5. sorethumb

     /  August 26, 2017

    I think GM has it allover NZF, except that he is an ignorant (as in self-righteous) liberal.
    He (or his researcher) called those who object to Maori wards “bigots”. I would refer to Johnathon Haidt The Righteous Mind” to answer that one, but basically conservatives are better judges of character, and from an evolutionary standpoint we need diversity of character. It is lucky for us some of our ancestors were bleeding hearts while others went in swinging.
    On Maori seats, you need to persuade a demonstrable majority of maori that in the interests of moving forward it is better to be one people. The official narrative (informed by post modernism (Marxism?)) has run in the opposite direction and has become an occupation in and of itself: cementing a constructed identity which is contrary to national unity.