Peters attacks Labour

The Government lasted nearly three years lasted nearly three years trying to portray the three party arrangement as solid and working well together.

But with the election looming and the fear of failing to make the threshold rising Winston Peters is attacking both the Greens and Labour. This post is on the Green target.

NZ Herald: Winston Peters takes swipe at Labour over response

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters relaunched his election campaign at a brewery but instead of taking a swig, he took a swipe at his Government partners.

He wrapped up the morning visit by saying the Auckland outbreak of Covid-19 was because Labour ministers were in charge of the key areas of the response.

“We could have done better on Covid-19. That’s a fact. If we could compare ourselves with Taiwan, we haven’t done as well as we could have done. We let our guard down.”

“Too many things fell through the traps, or the holes so to speak, that were deliberately left there by the bureaucracy … The fact of the matter is that the Labour ministers are the only ones in charge of all that.”

“I’m pointing the blame, but we’ll never get anywhere if everyone thinks we’ve done the best job in the world. We haven’t done as well as we could have done.”

Peters seems to be trying to claiming credit for ‘we’ doing the best job in the world but Labour Ministers stuffing up.

Peters said there were mistakes made and “it’s better to own up to them” – though he sits around the Cabinet table and is in Zoom meetings with Labour ministers when many of the important decisions are made. He will be in a Cabinet meeting on Friday morning.

He said if NZ First MPs were in charge, they would have brought in the military much sooner.

“Don’t keep on gilding the lily and saying everyone’s fine when it wasn’t going fine.

“The testing wasn’t going on, the surveillance wasn’t going on, the oversight and scrutiny that should have been done by the military was not happening. And masks were not used.”

Similar criticisms have been made by others including National, but this is one coalition partner taking swings at another.

It is also worth pointing out that Peters is doing this now as he launches into campaign mmode, not while the decisions were being made – by the Cabinet he and other NZ First ministers were a part of.

In fact, Peters has implemented a “no mask, no ride” policy on his NZ First campaign bus – but it apparently doesn’t apply to the party’s leader or deputy leader Fletcher Tabuteau who climbed aboard with their faces uncovered.

Peters may have thought that Labour should have made the plebs wear masks but that shouldn’t apply to him.

But the pair did make the effort to scan CovidTracer QR codes.

Tabuteau logged into every business and Peters at least opened his app at the first venue, but didn’t appear to actually scan in.

A politician ‘rules for others, not for me’ trick.

Ardern has responded – It’s a ‘disservice’ to say New Zealand hasn’t done well with Covid-19, says Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has hit back at Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters for saying New Zealand was “gilding the lily” about its response to Covid-19.

Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand had done “exceptionally well”.

“I think we do a disservice to every single New Zealander whose been part of that team effort if we don’t acknowledge that.

“I think we need to take into account, relative to other countries, how well New Zealanders have done and the results that have been generated.”

Peters did take that into account in saying the Government had done relatively well, it was just the Labour part of the Government that had stuffed some things up.

I’ve seen quite a bit of speculation about how National may have managed Covid if they had been in Government, from much the same as Labour (which is probably close too the mark) to killing thousands of people in order to allow businesses to make money (from the type of people who said similar of National pre-Covid).

But if the Covid response was negotiated just after an election with Peters holding the balance of power how well would we have done?

We would have still probably done fairly well with a few mistakes.

Peters seems a bit annoyed that he and NZ First haven’t had a lot of influence in the Covid response, with Ardern and Labour ministers getting most of the attention coming up to an election, but that is largely because the Prime Minister led the response and Labour ministers held the key portfolios of Finance and Health.

The military was called in but Minister of Defence, NZ First MP Ron Mark, got little exposure for that.

The NZ First initiated and run Provincial Growth Fund was diverted into the much larger Covid Recovery Fund, which shifted the handing out from Shane Jones to Labour ministers.

But Peters is limited in how much he can attack the Government he is a part of.

He hasn’t yet targeted Ardern herself, and I think that’s unlikely as that would likely be a political fools errand.

Peters came into the current Government seemingly positioning himself as virtual Prime Minister, seeing his long experiencing easily overshadowing the inexperienced leader Ardern.

But Ardern has stepped up big time on the big issues, the Christchurch mosque murders, the Whakaari eruption and now Covid. She has been widely praised for her leadership, leaving Peters looking like a barely relevant and fading sidekick.

Peters will probably keep attacking Labour but without being able to go head to head against Ardern without great risk his past it’s prime brinkmanship may overshadow his statesmanship.

Peters has been out-leadered by Ardern, and he has another problem that may be insurmountable – Ardern represents a new generation of politics, while Peters is a cranky political grandfather with more grate than gravitas.

I think NZ First’s political future may be largely out of Peters hands. They seem to be largely reliant on whether voters decide for themselves whether to moderate Labour’s power – we haven’t had a one party majority under MMP – and whether voters desert or come back to National.

Covid still dominates the news and public concerns. Peters can’t compete with that.

Similar to last election the Greens have managed to grab attention by shooting themselves in both James Shaw’s feet. When Metiria Turei gambled and lost support for the Greens slid, but so did NZ First support when Ardern stepped up for Labour.

Peters never reached great heights in preferred Prime Minister polls but he now barely gets a mention.

And NZ First don’t have a plan B if plan Winston isn’t working. Shane Jones has never win an electorate so winning an election seems something he can’t even buy. Who is the NZ First deputy?

It could be a tough campaign for them.

Leave a comment


  1. John J Harrison

     /  3rd September 2020

    Pete, second sentence, second paragraph is wrong.
    Typical, hypocritical Peters, painted into a corner and lashing out at every shadow.
    It is the end for both him and his motley team.
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    Again, expect a plethora of previously secret e mails to suddenly appear.
    My shares in the popcorn manufacturer have doubled in the last hour !

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd September 2020

    Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Winston makes Shakespeare come to life.


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