Winston ‘spray and walk away’ Peters and NZ First failings

NZ First looks to be in big trouble. It is still twelve weeks until the election, and Winston has been good at pulling campaign rabbits out of the hat, but prospects currently look a bit grim for NZ First.

This far out from the 2017 election Peters was confident of getting 20+% in the election, beating Labour and being top dog in coalition negotiations.  In June-July 2017 NZ First were getting 8-11% in polls and Peters always claimed polls were wrong (unless he liked the results).

Jacinda Ardern took over leadership and Labour bounced back in the polls, and NZ First dropped, getting 5-8% results towards the election. Still Peters claimed ‘Crap’ polls don’t reflect NZ First’s position:

RNZ’s latest poll of polls – which is the average of the major polls – has New Zealand First at 7.5 percent and falling.

Mr Peters today said despite the party’s slump in the polls, New Zealand First was actually going “very well” and the large variation between the recent polls showed they could not be relied upon and should not be taken seriously.

He said political polls were akin to voodoo.

“I think your polls are crap and I’ve always thought that,” Mr Peters said in Whangamata today.

“What you should say is ‘Mr Peters – my crap polls should be listened to’, and my answer’s ‘no your crap polls should be totally ignored by the public because they’re rubbish’.”

Eleven days later NZ First got 7.2% in the election, so the polls weren’t that far off.

Peters still acted like he had won the election and dictated the terms of coalition negotiations. He dominated proceedings, played the media, Labour and Greens, and came out with a disproportionate deal – the Winston tail wagged the Labour puppy which was desperate to get back into Government after nine years in opposition.

NZ First scored  the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund prize and they have been dishing out dosh as if it was election bribes all over the country. Donors from the racing and fishing industries were also rewarded with favourable policy changes.

Peters started the term as Deputy Prime Minister but acting as if he was the virtual leader with Ardern his rookie subordinate.

But Ardern’s leadership overshadowed Peters, especially in difficult times such as the Christchurch mosque murders, the Whakaari/White Island eruption and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Peters lost a court battle against National MPs and public officials over his super overpayments being made public.

And this year NZ First was exposed with the use of a trust to hide and effectively fiddle party donations. Whatever the Serious Fraud Office decide to do damage has already been done. One NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell, won’t be standing this election and that looks a bit like it could be connected to his involvement in party donations.

Peters is starting to look old and stale alongside Ardern and in Parliament.

NZ First have been polling around the all important threshold and have recently slipped well below it. At the start of the year poll results were 3-5%, but last month (May) they got a consistent 2.7%, 2.9% and 2.5% across three polls, and yesterday they dropped to 1.8% in the latest Colmar Brunton poll, their lowest result since 2014.

Winston’s reaction was predictable. 1 News headlined NZ First sees disastrous poll result but Peters responded

Asked about the party’s poor showing in the poll, party leader Winston Peters told 1 NEWS – “your polls are crap…your polls are rubbish…your problem is you don’t have the intellectual capacity to absorb the mistakes of your polling industry.”

Mr Peters denied that the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the secretive foundation bankrolling his party was contributing to its poor results.

“Once again that’s a jack-up as well, and we’ll prove that….this is the point here New Zealand First is so effective, that we’re impervious to attack on any reasonable grounds so common dirt is what they try against us – it’s not going to work,” Mr Peters said.

But Peters is looking like a repetitive, faded jaded mandarin.

On Thursdays in Parliament Peters gets to answer questions on behalf of the Prime Minister. I wonder what he thinks of being referred to as ‘she’ and repeat lame Government lines, like (from Hansard):

Hon Nikki Kaye: Will she absolutely guarantee there will not be an inquiry or investigation into the failures that have occurred?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: On behalf of the Prime Minister, it would be wrong to actually guarantee against a future inquiry. We cannot see the purpose of making such a commitment when, in fact, transparency and openness is our middle name.

Lack of openness and transparency have dogged the government, and have never been attributes associated with Peters.

Hon Chris Hipkins: Would the officials working at the front line have more time to do the jobs that we desperately need them to do if they weren’t having to investigate spurious and baseless claims being made by members of the Opposition?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Most definitely. To have an official having to behave like Sherlock Holmes to find a guilty party that doesn’t exist is preposterous behaviour, and Mr Woodhouse should be apologising to the country.

Hon Michael Woodhouse: Will she commit to telling the New Zealand public if and when the investigations being led by Dr Megan Woods reveals the veracity of the claim?

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Most definitely. But this is how the real world works—this is how the real world works. When an allegation is made, especially from someone who’s educated and a member of Parliament and a former Minister, you expect that member to back it up. We do not the old fungus or moss ad that used to go like this, “I just spray and walk away.” Spray and walk away won’t do, Mr Woodhouse.

That’s a laugh coming from him. Peters has been the spray and walk away champion of Parliament for decades. One of his trademarks is to make outrageous allegations in Parliament, insists he has evidence, but fails to front up with it.

Things are looking grim for Peters and the future of his party. Sure, he may pick up on a scandal and milk it for all it’s worth between now and the election, and pull off another miracle recovery, but he may struggle with that.

NZ First has never survived in Government for more than a term, and didn’t survive in Parliament after the 2005-2008 stint.

This campaign Peters is not just having to do a ‘me against them’ battle while claiming he would do a deal with anyone.  He is having to deal with pushback from Labour for doing the dirty on some of their policies, and Greens are also targeting NZ First for dumping on some of their aspirations. Plus of course National currently have a position of not dealing with NZ First after the election.

The threshold is looking like a difficult target for NZ First.

Their other way back is for Shane Jones to win the Northland electorate that Peters lost in 2017. Jones has never managed to win an electorate yet. Voters don’t seem to like his over-hyped oratory anywhere near as much as he does.

With or without an SFO decision before the election it’s going to be a big battle for Peters this time, and after a busy term he may struggle to raise the energy needed to pull it off. Most people are wise to his hype, hypocrisy and forked tongue.

Winston will spray, but we will have to wait until September to see whether he has to walk away from a long career in politics or not.

Leave a comment


  1. John J Harrison

     /  26th June 2020

    This is fantastic news.
    At last we can now see the demise of the greatest political charlatan that has blighted our political landscape for decades.
    Wonderful news for ACT with ( I hope ) 6-7 MP’s coming into the House to give National a spine.

    • lurcher1948

       /  26th June 2020

      If David Seymour thinks New Zealand will be happy with gun nuts getting their hands back on AR15s and AK47s,he is living in cloud cookie land.

      • Gezza

         /  26th June 2020

        The deluded denizens of cloud cuckoo land will no doubt be thanking their lucky stars he isn’t living in their country, neighbour.

      • The deluded who think that David is an anything goes gun nut will never be persuaded that this is a defamatory fallacy.

      • Corky

         /  26th June 2020

        You mean anti gun nuts, Lurchy. Those that can’t get it through their skulls New Zealand hasn’t got a problem with legal firearms. The problem is with the police and politicians.

    • Duker

       /  26th June 2020

      When does 3% give 6-7 MPs ?
      In 2008 ACT got 3.65% and 5 seats
      As for giving National ‘spine’ , Muller had to steal labours kindness policies to get back 8%.
      4-5 ACT MPs will just mean Seymour will have some back stabbers, like Hide did.

  2. Blazer

     /  26th June 2020

    NZ First has been in ‘big trouble’ since its inception.
    Winston entered politics circa 1975=45 years ago.

  3. Gezza

     /  26th June 2020

    Plus of course National currently have a position of not dealing with NZ First after the election.

    “Muller told RNZ the caucus position not to work with New Zealand First hadn’t changed, but didn’t rule out changing it in the future.

    “Our caucus position is clear that we’re not working for New Zealand First.

    “And there’s always a second bit that I always follow up with – and if that changes I’ll report back,” quoth he.

    Never say never. Ardern scored the Treasury Benches by going into coalition with NZF & promising the Greens some sugar.

    • Blazer

       /  26th June 2020

      I’m sure Winston will have some….vinegar for …National if he were in a co-alition.
      They won’t risk it imo.

    • National still ruling out working with NZ First

      Speaking to Morning Report in the wake of the poll, Muller said: “My position has always been that our caucus in February said that we can’t see a way that we would work with them.

      “That remains our position. But I have said all along, my final pronunciation on all of this will be before the campaign starts.”

      At that time, he would also discuss National’s position on working with the ACT Party.

      Public press relations consultant and and former National government press secretary Ben Thomas told Morning Report “National’s long-term future is best – looks best – if New Zealand First is out of Parliament.

      “On the other hand, they might be tempted. Muller has a background and a history with Winston Peters going back to the ’90s in the Beehive. I think they will be at tempted to at least keep that option open.

      “New Zealand First has a lot of headwinds coming into this election. The first one is their very low polling rate now, the second one is immigration, their usual go-to policy is just off the table right now because no-one is coming into the country. And the third thing is that SFO (Serious Fraud Office) inquiry.

      • Duker

         /  26th June 2020

        What they mean is ‘Our Policy is Clear’ …but we can change it at any time. to suit the moment ( and focus group results)

  4. Pete’s been listening to Superstar; a faded, jaded Mandarin was said by Judas to Jesus.


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