‘Bad boys of Brexit’ campaigners and NZ First

People involved in the Brexit campaign in the UK, and to Nigel Farage, have been linked to Winston peters and to the NZ First campaign this election. Peters has reacted oddly to this becoming public.

Last week from The Spinoff: The curious case of Winston Peters and ‘Brexit bad boy’ Arron Banks

One of the fathers of Brexit has spent much of the past five months in Auckland, where he enjoyed the sea breeze, watched the UK’s mishandling of Covid-19 from afar and became a vocal online supporter of Winston Peters.

Arron Banks, a brash British entrepreneur who amassed a fortune before throwing himself into the leave campaign, financed and directed one of the most aggressive groups pushing for Brexit. Unexpectedly, Banks and the Leave.EU campaign have over recent months become champions of a small political party more than 10,000 miles away: New Zealand First.

Despite New Zealand’s distance and near irrelevance to Brexit, a group that rose to prominence and power during the leave campaign has now chosen to promote the New Zealand deputy prime minister and his party.

Leave.EU has also created several posts about New Zealand’s wins against coronavirus and thanked Peters for his leadership in the crisis – no mention is made of the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern.

On Tuesday morning, the Spinoff reached out to NZ First for comment on the connection with Banks and the group.

A party spokesperson directed The Spinoff to Darroch Ball, a list MP based in Palmerston North. The spokesperson said Ball was now responsible for the party’s communications and would field the questions for Peters. Ball did not respond to seven phone calls and text messages over the following six hours. The spokesperson did not respond to four additional phone calls, but in a text message directed the Spinoff to a second spokesperson. As of last night that second spokesperson had not responded to any of four phone calls and text messages.

Yesterday: Brexit campaigners pledge to bring ‘mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare’ to NZ election

New Zealand First has hired a crew of political operators from one of the most aggressive groups in the Brexit campaign to cause “mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare” before the September election, according to The Daily Telegraph, the Conservative-leaning British broadsheet newspaper.

According to The Telegraph’s chief political correspondent, Christopher Hope, a six-person team from Banks’ Leave.EU has been “dispatched to Auckland” to work on New Zealand First’s campaign. They’ve reportedly been instructed to double the party’s count of MPs to 20.

Andy Wigmore, one of Banks’ main lieutenants, told the newspaper: ”I’m going to be on ground in New Zealand causing trouble – mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare in the New Zealand election – the bad boys are back.”

It is uncertain on what basis Wigmore intends to be “on the ground” in New Zealand. There is no known exemption to the strict border controls for political strategists or self-styled “bad boys of Brexit”.

Following the publication of the Spinoff’s story, which followed 15 attempts to contact New Zealand First, Peters tweeted: “For the benefit of the woke leftist spinoff, had they asked me, which they didn’t, I came across Arron Banks in 2016 in the UK. We have been happily sharing thoughts and ideas on international matters ever since. He’s a top bloke and we both believe that freedom matters!”

Following the tweet, New Zealand First was again contacted for comment. They did not respond.

Banks and Peters appeal to a similar demographic, said University of Otago law professor Andrew Geddis, but that doesn’t mean Banks should be invited into New Zealand’s political system.

“The form of politics that led to the Brexit vote, which Arron Banks was involved with, was typified by rampant misinformation and appealing to naked prejudice in the electorate. My view is that importing that type of politics into New Zealand would be detrimental to our democracy,” said Geddis.

The Spinoff is again seeking comment from the parties involved, and will update over the day should any response be forthcoming.

Banks and Wigmore promoted the Spinoff article:

Later yesterday Peters decided to go straight to the public via a media release – The Spinoff posted on this:  Winston Peters takes exception to UK media report by issuing an angry diatribe – against The Spinoff

The Daily Telegraph, newspaper of choice for the British Conservative establishment, reported overnight that the New Zealand First Party had hired a crew of political operators from one of the most aggressive and controversial groups in the Brexit campaign to create “mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare” in the leadup to the September election.

The Spinoff in turn reported the developments from the UK this morning. Both Banks and Wigmore retweeted The Spinoff’s story.

Peters, who is New Zealand’s deputy prime minister, then chose to respond. In a statement he snubbed the venerable British broadsheet the Daily Telegraph (established 1855), however, choosing instead to focus on the New Zealand site The Spinoff (established 2014) in a statement issued this afternoon.

In his idiosyncratic statement today, Peters said that the original story from The Spinoff had left “a very disappointed NZF staffer” who felt that their statement had been attributed to Banks’ influence when they “wrote that press release, all on their own”.

It was never The Spinoff’s intention to attribute that writer’s work to Banks, not least because the now disappointed writer manifestly wanted their work attributed to Peters.

Peters sounds a tad agitated by all of this exposure.

Leave a comment

20 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  8th July 2020

    So how the hell can 6 “ bovver boys “ enter NZ to create mayhem?
    Are they NZ citizens or have a special dispensation from government ministers?

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th July 2020

      Check the story…they arent here. Online campaigning can be done from anywhere.

      You must be the most mis informed person commenting here, and that has a lot of competition

      Reply
      • He may have checked the first story, as quoted above:

        One of the fathers of Brexit has spent much of the past five months in Auckland, where he enjoyed the sea breeze, watched the UK’s mishandling of Covid-19 from afar and became a vocal online supporter of Winston Peters.

        Reply
      • John J Harrison

         /  8th July 2020

        Duker, thank you for the compliment.
        I did read the story – unlike you.
        It clearly states that “ a six person team has been dispatched to Auckland. “
        So please tell us all how and when they enter the country.

        Reply
        • And one said that he’d be on (the) ground.

          Arron’s parents must have thought that that was how Aaron was pronounced, so spelt it thus.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  9th July 2020

            People can spell their childrens names any way…they want.

            Reply
        • Are they coming here or not ? The story changes according to who’s telling it.

          I missed WP saying that they couldn’t get in, anyway.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  8th July 2020

            ‘According to The Telegraph’s chief political correspondent, Christopher Hope, a six-person team from Banks’ Leave.EU has been “dispatched to Auckland” to work on New Zealand First’s campaign. They’ve reportedly been instructed to double the party’s count of MPs to 20.’

            Such a reliable source…..quite a modest mission for the Super 6…. 🙂

            Reply
      • Pink David

         /  8th July 2020

        “You must be the most mis informed person commenting here”

        Dr Duker AAE

        Reply
  2. Gerrit

     /  8th July 2020

    If Peters says NO it can be taken for a YES.

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  8th July 2020

      Not at all. As Peters will explain, if he had been asked on a Thursday, he would of course agreed that he hired these guys, but as the reporter had the effrontery to ask on a Tuesday, Peters had no choice but to mislead. It’s all in the timing you see.

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  8th July 2020

      Peters cut his teeth with the Nats.
      Nothing new at all in utilising outside help with political campaigns.

      The Nats paid millions for Crosby Textor….and they are not based in NZ…believe it or…not.

      Reply
      • Yawn. You are obsessed with National.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  8th July 2020

          Not at all….crimes and misdemeanours are my one of my …interests.
          I always look for ‘gold’ where it’s been found before.

          A rather rich vein ,compliments of the..Nats.

          Reply
  3. Brian Johnston

     /  8th July 2020

    Peters is a charlatan, ask anyone, people are sick of Peters.
    The gaudy double breasted pinstripe suits do not help and say a lot. Narcissism.
    He claims to oppose privatisation and foreign ownership and to support referenda and a whole lot of other stuff when wanting to be elected and when elected does nothing.
    When asked, Peters did nothing to assist in preventing the ‘theft’ and privatisation of the electricity now up in price 300% or more.
    Peters took the guns from owners who could be trusted.
    He is unelected and should not be deputy PM.
    Is NZ First currently under investigation?
    Here’s hoping Peters, NZ First misses the threshold at the next election.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  8th July 2020

      this statement ‘The gaudy double breasted pinstripe suits do not help and say a lot.’

      basically sums up whether to take your comments…seriously=says…alot.

      Reply
      • I think that they may be chalk-striped, and look like what US gangsters wore.

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  8th July 2020

          US gangsters still favour the same look….no Wall St banker worth his salt would be seen dead in anything but Armani…’ dressed in dark chalk-stripe, double-breasted suit with sizable lapels and a striped blue shirt complemented with a red patterned power tie.’

          Reply
    • Duker

       /  8th July 2020

      “Peters took the guns from owners who could be trusted.”
      All parties in parliament voted for the gun laws except ‘Shotgun’ Seymour
      Wrong again.
      semi automatics are still available , but only in low power .22 rimfire versions for shooting rabbits and possums, not people

      Reply
  4. Brian Johnston

     /  9th July 2020

    Peters does not need a team of advisors.
    All he has to do is listen to the people and tell the truth.
    He then has to stick with it.
    I hope he is gone at this election.
    Outdoors or Social Credit, take your pick. Maybe they should team up.

    Reply

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