Winston demands to know Labour’s intentions

Yet another bottom line apparently from Winston Peters. He is demanding to know what Labour’s intentions on tax are.

Of course this is highly hypocritical, as Peters refuses to say what NZ First might do after the election, claiming they need to wait and see what voters decide.

This is just posturing.

NZH: Winston Peters to Labour: Front up on your tax plans

Winston Peters has set out a firm new condition of going into government with Labour – it must tell him what its tax plans are.

New Zealand First could not support any Labour government without knowing its true intentions, he told the Herald.

Peters said he believed Labour already knew what it wanted from a proposed tax working group but was instead saying it had not decided.

“I’ve got more experience than nearly all of them put together, with respect, lining up for these [post-election] discussions.

And he’s worse than anyone at not being open about what he might do, and what policies he may demand as non-negotiable.

“And I’d expect to know, yes. As the people who trust Winston Peters would expect him to know.”

Some people do trust Peters, but I’m not sure why. But I think that most people are justifiably very suspicious.

Peters compared Ardern’s rise to that of French President Emmanuel Macron, but claimed an uncritical media had played a crucial part.

“You are not asking the questions. You can’t possibly mean to go into an election saying, ‘My tax policy will be decided by a committee, and I am very sincere about that’. One needs to know what we are talking about … that should be fatal to a party’s chances. And we need to know.”

Accusing an uncritical media of playing a part in someone else’s campaign success is hilarious. He has long been given a free pass on a lot of his bull, and he has also long been given disproportionate media attention, that he is adept at milking.

That Winston is attacking Labour and Ardern like this suggests he is worried about the impact they are having on NZ First support.

I’m surprised there has been no public poll done on the Northland electorate. Peters has had to split his time between defending his electorate – and I haven’t seen any sign of Labour helping him this time – and trying to campaign for the party vote nationally.

Ardern, the Greens (last month), Todd Barclay and Steven Joyce have all been sucking the wind out of Winston’s sails.

In the same way, Peters said he wanted more clarity from Labour about how its proposed water royalty would be set, and assurances from National that Maori would not be given rights over fresh water.

Labour and national should demand that Peters let voters know what his true intentions are, including advising which of his many implied and stated bottom lines will actual be bottom lines.

Or maybe it would be better just laughing at him then ignoring him.

Peters seems to think he deserves more recognition and more say in government – “I’ve got more experience than nearly all of them put together”. It must really grate that Ardern has stolen the election thunder and another political youngster David Seymour keeps winding him up.

This election is likely to be his last chance of political glory, but it may also turn out to be a sign of Winston’s whine and wane.

Peters wavers over Maori seat referendum

In his speech to the NZ First congress on Sunday Winston Peters said:

I am therefore announcing today that the next government we belong to will offer a binding referendum mid-term to do two things:

Retain or Abolish the Maori seats.

And there will be second referendum on the same day and that will be to Maintain or Reduce the size of Parliament to 100 MPs.

RNZ pointed out: Peters, Jones differ on Māori seats

On the issue of Māori seats (Shane Jones) told The Hui programme he’d keep them but forgot to tell his boss Mr Peters who was put on the spot earlier today.

“That was a long time ago he wasn’t a candidate then.

Morning Report’s Kim Hill pressed Mr Peters again but he held the line and said “No, it wasn’t this month”.

But Mr Jones was officially a New Zealand First candidate when he made the comments just 15 days ago.

“The Māori seats will subsist for as long as people of Māori extraction remain on them or want them to continue, but it’s a kaupapa for the people to decide,” Mr Jones said.

Peters now seems to be rethinking the NZ First position on the referendum.

NZ Herald: NZ First leader Winston Peters hints at re-think on Maori seats referendum

NZ First leader Winston Peters has dismissed suggestions of a revolt in his ranks over the Maori seats, but said he will reveal soon whether his proposed referendum on the future of the seats would be for all voters or for Maori.

Peters announced plans to hold a binding referendum on the future of the seats at his party’s annual conference – a shift from the 2014 position which favoured abolishing the seats but leaving it to Maori themselves to decide when.

That was assumed to be a referendum of all voters – but Peters is now hinting that may not be the case.

Asked about recent comments by both candidate Shane Jones and NZ First MP Pita Paraone about leaving the fate of the seats to Maori voters, Peters said he believed it should be up to Maori.

“Of course it should be up to Maori to decide if the seats go, but I’m making a speech about it very shortly and I will tell you the full parameters of that.

“I’ve heard what has been said by people who have interviewed Pita and maybe others, and the question is whether it is full conscription and I’ll have that answer in a speech I’m giving shortly.”

Perhaps Peters has had a reality check with Maori candidate and Maori voter views.

He may be having a problem with trying to scratch the itch of different voter demographics. Both he and Jones are standing in Northland where there are a lot of Maori voters.

Peters was also incorrect in claiming most Maori weren’t on the Maori roll.

Peters said Maori voters were leaving the Maori seats in their droves and the majority of Maori were on the general roll rather than Maori roll.

However, Electoral Commission statistics show 55 per cent are on the Maori roll and 45 per cent on the general roll.

NZ Herald:

After the last electoral option in 2013, there were 228,718 Maori on the Maori roll and 184,630 on the general roll.

Jones and Paraone are both on the Maori roll.

Peters seems to have announced the referendum ‘bottom line’ without consulting with his Maori candidates.

Peters rejected any suggestion Jones had broken the party line by saying it should be left to Maori, saying Jones made his comments based on the party’s 2014 policy without knowing it was about to change.

“Nothing he said was in conflict with that and he made the point he was going with what he understood the manifesto position to be and he was 100 per cent right. He is not guilty of any sin at all on this score.”

Paraone said he had advocated for a referendum of Maori on the Maori roll only, but accepted the decision caucus made.

“I’d like to see that it’s left to the Maori voters to make that decision, but the announcement has been made.”

Jones said he would leave it to Paraone to comment on the issue as NZ First’s Maori Affairs spokesman. “I abide by the caucus policy.”

Before he abides by caucus policy it sounds like that will have to be determined, as opposed to what Peters said in his speech on Sunday.

 

With the higher than usual likelihood that NZ First will hold the balance of power with potentially a sizeable bloc of the vote more attention is being given to NZ First policy.

And attention is not just on Peters any more, media are also paying a lot of attention to Jones. It is an unfamiliar situation for Peters, sharing the limelight. Differences will attract attention.

Peters has got away with a lot of policy making on the hoof in the past. This campaign that will be more difficult for him.

@jo_moir

Peters saying he’s considering just Maori voting on referendum to abolish seats proves my point about him making policy on the hoof.

On Sunday he was very specific it would be one referendum, two questions, one on Māori seats and one on reducing total MPs.

You can’t have one referendum if you’re having general roll answer one question and Māori roll another. Seems awfully messy!

Jones and Paraone have left him no choice but to throw this out there as an option but it was certainly never the plan. Completely reactive.

Peters has tried to push populist buttons on a new scale, but it may get harder for him to get away with saying contradictory things to different audiences now.

This wavering over the Maori seat referendum also highlights the flexibility of Winston’s implied bottom lines.

If Peters caves on this one it would suggest that any of his campaign demands are negotiable come coalition time.

More Winston bottom lines

Yesterday Winston Peters implied that a Northland rail link to Marsden Point was a bottom line, or at least was an election promise.

Newshub:  Northland rail ‘going to happen’, Winston Peters promises

Winston Peters says the Northport rail project at Marsden Point is his bottom line for any coalition deal.

NZ First has been strongly advocating the connection, which may cost up to $1 billion.

Mr Peters says it’s the first thing both National and Labour will have to concede if he’s the kingmaker.

“I can say for the people of Northland and Whangerei this is going to happen,” he told The Nation on Saturday morning.

“We’ve got the corridor, it’s been designated – the only thing it lacks is the commitment from central Government, and that’s one of the first things we’re going to be doing straight after the election.”

Today he had another promise/bottom line: Winston Peters delivers bottom-line binding referendum on abolishing Maori seats

Winston Peters promised “explosive policy” at his party’s convention on Sunday but it was a tried and true pledge of referenda on abolishing the Maori seats and reducing the number of MPs that he delivered.

Speaking to media following his speech, Peters said the size of Parliament needs to reduce because there was a referendum in 1999 where 80 per cent of the country wanted to reduce the overall number of MPs but it wasn’t binding.

“The public should be asked again now whether they want the 120 or 100.”

A binding referendum on the two matters would be held on the same day in the middle of the next election term.

Peters said both issues were “explosive” but in particular the Maori seats because “Maori progress economically and socially has been massively sidetracked, detoured and road blocked by the Waitangi industry”.

“How could that possibly happen when we’ve got all these new members of Parliament coming from the Maori world?”

Peters said he wouldn’t use “silly phrases” like “bottom lines” but he made it clear the referendum wasn’t negotiable.

“My strategy is to tell everybody out there that you won’t be talking to NZ First unless you want a referendum on both those issues at the mid-term mark of this election.”

So it’s not a ‘bottom line’, it’s non-negotiable.

Peters is clocking up a few non negotiable policies. Unless he doesn’t have to negotiate:

Peters’ interview with media was interrupted several times by members of his youth wing yelling “Make New Zealand great again” but when asked if he thought his supporters using a Donald Trump slogan was helpful, Peters said he had never heard Trump say that.

He talked about a “great political upset coming” and signed off with a promise – “we will be, most definitely, the Government.”

That’s fairly ambitious to say the least, unless it’s just hot air.

I wonder if he would agree to a referendum of MPs in the next coalition on whether a referendum on Maori seats should happen?

 

Winston’s bottom lines

There’s a lot of unknowns about how next year’s election will go. One of the biggest questions will be how National goes under Bill English’s leadership – will their support drop now John Key has stepped down? Will it stay dropped?

Labour are still struggling to be a major party. They seem to have given up competing head to head with National, and are now relying on Labour+Greens, but their Memorandum of Understanding doesn’t seem to have enthused voters.

There is one certainty – the media will continue to promote Winston Peters as ‘kingmaker’. There’s a good chance (but no guarantee) NZ First will end up in a position where they can play National off against Labour+Greens. Winston remains adamant he won’t do that until after the election.

But there have already a few bottom lines mentioned.

1. Superannuation

New Zealand First’s objective is to preserve the entitlement of New Zealanders to retire and receive New Zealand Superannuation (NZS) as it now is with eligibility at 65 years and as a universal non-contributory publicly funded pension scheme with no means-testing.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/superannuation

It’s very unlikely Winston would relent on this one.

2. No Maori Party

Ensure the future of the Maori seats is a decision for the people to make having examined the significant increase in representation numbers of Maori MPs under MMP.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/maori_affairs

And (in June 2016):

Stopping separatism …is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…and for example a parallel state where you’ve got a state within a state because of separatist racist laws then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/winston-peters-separatism-and-mass-immigration-bottom-lines-nz-first

Peters has ruled out a coalition that included the Maori Party in the past. This doesn’t look like changing.

3. Immigration

New Zealand First is committed to a rigorous and strictly applied immigration policy that serves New Zealand’s interests. Immigration should not be used as a source of cheap labour to undermine New Zealanders’ pay and conditions.

http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/immigration

The rest of their Immigration policy sounds strong but is actually vague.

…stopping mass immigration is a bottom line for NZ First working with any future government, Winston Peters says.

“…if mass immigration continued…then we will not go down that path and I’m saying it right now.”

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/winston-peters-separatism-and-mass-immigration-bottom-lines-nz-first

It’s difficult to know what Winston would insist on for immigration, but he plays the immigration card often to supporters so would have to make some demands.

4. Pike River Re-entry

Winston Peters says Pike River re-entry is bottom line to election deals

Winston Peters says re-entering Pike River mine is a “bottom line” to any election deal made next year.

“I’m making no bones about it, we’ll give these people a fair-go, and yes this is a bottom line, and it shouldn’t have to be,” he said on TV’s Paul Henry show on Wednesday morning.

Any political party seeking New Zealand First’s support to form a government in the 2017 election will have to commit to re-entering the mine.

National want to leave any re-entry decision up to Solid Energy. Andrew Little has supported re-entry but has not absolutely committed Labour to it.

5. Police numbers

Winston Peters demands 1800 extra police

The New Zealand First leader and Northland MP wants the number of police officers increased by 27 percent, in line with Australia’s per capita ratio.

“We’re looking at something like 1800-1900 officers just as a start now to get to a level where we once were, and then build upon that,” he says.

He says it’s a bottom line in any negotiations regarding the formation of the next Government.

So that is five bottom lines that I’m aware of.

? Prime Minister

Arise Sir Winston, Prime Minister of New Zealand?

…here’s another theory that’s been doing the rounds much longer.

It is that Peters will only retire after he has fulfilled his ambition of one day being prime minister. It’s even said to have been put on the able in NZ First’s protracted negotiations to form a government in 1996.

And:

Forget ‘kingmaker’, Winston Peters wants to be the next Prime Minister

That seems to be a claim only on the Paul Henry Show, Peters doesn’t say that. But is that one of his goals?

I don’t think National would agree to a Winston as PM deal, but would Labour and Greens, where none of none of Little, Metiria Turei and James Shaw have any government experience? Peters has already been deputy Prime Minister, from 16 December 1996 to 14 August 1998 (under Jim Bolger).

Are there other Winston/NZ First bottom lines so far?

NZ First bottom lines

Winston Peters had a typically rambunctious interview with Patrick Gower on The Nation, but he did give some indications about NZ First bottom lines in any coalition negotiations.

In summary:

  • The Super eligibility age must be a bottom line.
  • Peters suggested NZ First has strong asset buy backs, foreign property ownership and foreign fishing policies but there was sufficient vagueness to be uncertain what exactly would be bottom lines.
  • Peters ruled out working with UnitedFuture or the Maori Party, the two other parties most likely to be in contention for coalition negotiations whether National or Labour form the next government.
  • Peters continues to insist that John Key has lied about Kim Dotcom.

Right from the start of the interview Peters made a point about NZ First not being a one person party.

NZ First not a dictatorship

Winston: Well first of all, I’m grateful that you said New Zealand First and not, try to personalize it as everybody else has sort to do. We’re a democratic party and we make decisions as a caucus, and as a board and as party supporters.

And again soon afterwards.

If your party is having its 21st birthday, in July of this year, which means we haven’t been around because one guy’s been running the show by himself like a dictator. We consult, we ensure that everybody signed up, even to these sorts of arrangements and talks…

On buying back power companies

So that means buying Genesis back?

That’s right…at no greater price than they pay for it .

And so does that mean the other power companies as well?

It means exactly that, that’s what our position has been for some time.

So that’s a priority for you in any negotiations?

It is a priority and it also has the best things in terms of economic calculations from treasury. If what they said about selling off 49% is correct then it goes for the whole lot.

So in terms of walking away, we’re not even walking in until we get what we believe New Zealand economically and socially needs.

So that’s a deal breaker essentially if either side doesn’t want to buy back the assets yet?

Well if either side prefers to sell out New Zealand’s long term heritage, then they can line up and find their own support. But if they want to line up with the mass majority of New Zealanders as the latest polls says on this issue of asset sales, then they can perhaps line up with New Zealand First.

So that’s a deal breaker, buying back the assets is a deal breaker?

Hang on; I’m not going to be sitting here like some sort of uh, star chamber, federal case in the United States while you think you’re going to nail me down. I think you need to understand one thing about MMP. And it goes like this. Even the old system went like this. The voters vote first, and then they decide in what numbers that the parties and parliaments are comprising parliament. Then you know what you’re dealing with. Here we are six months out from election. We don’t know whether for example National is going to re-nuclearise New Zealand so to speak. Or whether Labour is going to come up with some policy…

So that seems to imply asset that power companies buybacks are a non-negotiable priority – but we won’t know what NZ First is dealing with until the voters have decided.

It sounds like definitely, maybe. I don’t know how NZ First will determine from the election vote what policies to make non-negotiable.

On raising the National Super eligibility age

Let me tell you what happened in 2011. We saw a Labour party come out and announce an increase in the retirement age, and putting GST on, and taking effect…not GST no…capital gains tax on, and it would take effect in 2017. As for the increase in age…2021. We said straight away then, we can’t go into any arrangement with these people and so we made a statement and said we’re going to the cross benches between 2011 and 2014. And we did.

And that would stand again if Labour tries to change the retirement age, you’d go to the cross benches again?

Look, I think they can be persuaded, if that was the issue, I think they can be persuaded that that fatally cost them the election. All the old people coming near 65 heard was, not 2021, they just heard the age is going up.

Raising the Super age would seem to be a deal breaker, and it would probably be a party breaker of NZ First changed their stance on this.

On foreign ownership

Let’s look at foreign ownership and the restrictions on essentially foreign buyers or non New Zealand citizens. You want an immediate ban on them buying residential property with either government?

Look, the non-New Zealand buyer, if that non-New Zealand buyer is buying into a new business here to create new exports and new work, or to move their family here and put their heart and soul for the rest of their lives into this country, then we don’t have a problem as we didn’t have with the labour…

No ban if there’s business involved or for genuine residency, but that may be difficult to determine in advance and difficult to police. What happens if a foreign buyer says they will live most of the time here but travel overseas a lot?

Yeah, I’m talking about residential property, do you want to an immediate ban on non-New Zealanders?

Well I’m not going to stand around while somebody from off shore with 77 homes, and has now become a major landlord in Auckland and filtering in, and gouging money out of our economy…

That’s a sort of a “no way”.

Who is this person?

Well it’ll come out in time, but we’re a long way from the election and some of the doubters in this country are going to get some facts in this campaign.

With a big “but”.

You want an immediate ban on foreign ownership of property?

Well first of all I want to know why we have not got in place a land and house register so that authorities and bureaucrats, know what they’re dealing with and what numbers they’re talking about, rather than if they go around likening anyone like me to being xenophobic.

A register that determines detailed numbers would take some time (far longer than a coalition negotiation period) so this would have to involve a commitment to set up a register. But it’s very vague about what would allow and what would rule out ownership.

Immediate ban’s your policy, so you’d want that in place. That would drive down property prices. Are you happy with that?

No, with the greatest respect it would not. What it would do, you would see at some ends of the market…

No challenge to “immediate ban’s your policy, so you’d want that in place” but it’s left unclear and vague.

On foreign involvement in fishing

The fishing industry, what do you want to do there? You know a lot about fishing…

Well our policy is for the New Zealandisation of the industry, just like Iceland, just like Norway, who understand something about this. It’s Norway’s number one income earner, its Iceland’s survival. Here’s my point; we want the New Zealandisation of the industry, so our fish is caught by New Zealand boats and New Zealand fishermen and is added value that is packaged here and sold here and sold offshore. I don’t see how we can get any advantage from foreign crews sending the raw product to China, and have it tinned back to our supermarkets.

So how do you enforce this? You ban foreign crews, you’d ban processing offshore?

Well I’m not saying banning processing offshore; they will not take it off shore. But we’ll give them an exit strategy and make sure they’re compensated – but we want this great resource, which is ours and we’re lucky people to have it, to be part of the growth and the employment and wealth creation of this country. For goodness sake, the Maori people have got a sizeable chunk, as you know, of the Maori fishing industry and who’s catching Maori entitlement or Maori quota fish? Foreigners are. Who’s working on…

So would you ban it? Would you ban foreigners if they were taking all the chunks?

Well I make it very clear that our policy was specified that those days will be over.

Very clear that it’s NZ First policy but not clear what they would actually insist on and no indication it would be a bottom line.

The first option for coalition negotiations – the party with the most seats

Okay so in terms of negotiations you’ve said it’s a constitutional convention – your words – to negotiate with the biggest party first. That’s right isn’t it?

Look, as I said – and it’s all on our website, been there for 20 years – that we will negotiate in the first instance with the party with the most votes. That is in the first instance. But if there is no possibility of a sound coalition from them, then you would talk to others.

So that negotiation, does that mean a phone call, the first phone call? Or do you actually enter negotiations in that scenario and start to look at what policy gains you can get?

Well I suppose if we’re talking about logistics then it probably starts with a phone call, because if nobody is phoning each other then there’s no conversation.

Yeah but after that do you negotiate with that biggest party first, do you sit down and talk with them?

Well I think you’d have a preliminary discussion about what do you think your priorities are and what do you think ours might be.

So you would sit down with John Key for instance first before you sat down with David Cunliffe?

Not necessarily would it be a leaders discussion, because frankly, I assume he hires key people with far more experience than him in this matter…like Wayne Eagleson for example. Helen Clark had…

So you’d prefer to sit down with the chief of staff before you had even talked to John Key?

No I didn’t say that, I said the chiefs of staff would go across and map out the talking grounds. And then you might have the discussion.

I think it’s standard for chiefs of staff to set the groundwork for negotiations, and Peters has had a lot of experience in this process, so nothing unusual about this.

How far down this path do you go before you go to the other side?

Well ideally you’d start with one and you’d ensure that the other one is not left out. Because frankly…

So you’re talking to both sides…

If you cannot get reconciliation over here then you need to have some chance of getting reconciliation over there. As distasteful as it is to you, and others, the public is demanding a stable Government, and that is the number one responsibility of anybody in politics.

That sounds very much like NZ First will negotiate with both sides (National and Labour) from early on.

Peters’ relationship with John Key

I want to turn now to John Key and what is essentially your weird relationship with him. You’ve called him arrogant, pretentious, a liar; you’ve said his Government was incompetent; you said he worked in Merrill Lynch, which you called corrupt. You really don’t like him. Now, how on earth are you going to work with this guy, and will you make John Key Prime minister?

I’ve heard you burbling away on TV every night describing this relationship as toxic. You know nothing about it. Now cut it out. I happen to see John Key at the races, I said gidday to him, I see him around the place we say hello. I walked into a coffee bar and shook his hand.

That doesn’t sound like a close relationship, far from it. And it doesn’t give any indication of respect or rapport. Saying hello occasionally is not a political relationship.

You called him an arrogant liar, you think that he’s spied on you…

All right, well I’ll explain this to you. I’ll explain this. When he gave witnesses to that event about which he spoke I knew that person could not have been there, because I checked the persons diary and I thought well who else is the person making the information. But here’s the real point here. Of course he worked for Merrill Lynch. Merrill Lynch is one of the companies that brought the western economies to their knees. The global financial crisis was never a global crisis.

The upshot is how could you make him Prime Minister when you talk about him like this?

No, no I want you to have a debate where we have a chance to have our say. The western financial crisis has cost the world plenty. Now when I say he’s arrogant, he has been arrogant. He comes in and says I want certainty about the election I’m giving you September. This is balderdash.

Let me ask you one last time. Can you make the man you call an arrogant liar Prime Minister?

OK one more point. Do you think he’s telling the truth on the GCSB? Because there’s not one western leader who would believe…

You haven’t answered the question. But you’re saying he’s a liar on what he knew about Kim Dotcom aren’t you?

I am.

Insistence that Peters believes Key has lied about Dotcom

Yep. Will you make him PM then? If you’re saying he lied about what he knew about Kim Dotcom will you make him the Prime Minister?

Paddy we’ve got a long way to go until the election, and when it emerges that there’ no way the SIS and GCSB leader of this country’s administration, namely John Key, could not have known, I think you might look with different eyes at that matter.

Peters appears to believe that it will be proven that Key has lied before the election. If that happens then for Peters to be consistent he will demand that Key resigns.

If Key doesn’t resign before the election then Peters would be very hypocritical if he negotiated a coalition agreement with Key.

The only out here is if Key resigns than NZ First may then be able to negotiate with the new National leader.

Rules out working with UnitedFuture and the Maori Party

Can you work with UF in government?

Well, you know, can I tell you the truth? In 2005 I was the one who went to Peter Dunne and said to him, Peter do you want to be a minister. Not Helen Clark.

Will you make him a minister again in the next government? Would you give him the go-ahead?

Well no. Given how he’s behaved…

So he’s out. What about the Maori Party? Can you work with them?

I’m not working with a party that believes in racial separatism.

That rules out NZ First working with them but it doesn’t necessarily rule out a coalition with National or Labour that also involves United Future or the Maori Party. Coalition agreements are between the major party and individual minor parties. The minor parties don’t negotiate with each other, nor do they have to work together.

There’s no indication here a coalition arrangement that involved NZ First would have to rule out United Future or the Maori Party being in the coalition.

About your transparency now. You’re shutting essentially 95 percent, maybe 90 percent, of the New Zealand voters out of the equation with your balance of power. What is fair about that?

How did you possibly extrapolate this conversation to that extraordinary conclusion?

Because you won’t be transparent. You don’t say, you won’t say anything about where you’re going.

You see Paddy you’re back to you again. You’re not listening to anything I’m saying. What I said was that we’re going to see what happens in the next six months we’re going to ensure as a party we make a democratic decision that includes caucus, and the board and our support base.

So no more transparency.

Now the next thing is that the mass majority of New Zealanders, including 35% of National voters, don’t like the sort of deals you advocate. They think they’re odious. They think they’re anathema. And so do I. And one last thing. You must be much smarter than me but I’m not able to play cards I’ve never seen.

Asset sale buy-back and keeping the Super eligibility age at 65 appear to be non-negotiable.

Everything else seems to depend on what happens between now on the election, what the voters say (except they only vote, they don’t say what bottom lines they want)  and what the NZ First caucus, board and members democratically decide they want.

The bottom line

The Super age has to be a bottom line. Giving in on that would be like the Greens giving in on deep sea drilling, it’s totally against what NZ First stands for.

Peters working with Key would be very hypocritical. Peters claims that Peter Dunne lied and Judith Collins lied, and because of that he insists they should resign. Peters also insists Key lied.

The rest looks up for negotiation. Even apparent bottom lines could be fudged, like asset sales buybacks – there could be an agreement that buy backs be investigated and take place “when economic conditions allow”. Foreign property purchases and foreign fishing positions appear to be strong but they are vague.

There are only two bottom lines that appear to be certain.

  1. Leave the Super eligibility age at 65.
  2. Anything else is possible.

And the voters will decide one thing – whether Peters and NZ First get the opportunity to negotiate. If they give NZ First 5% little else is certain.

Note that this interview did not examine how NZ First might work with Labour, nor whether NZ First would agree to a coalition that involved the Greens.

Source of transcript- Scoop The Nation: Patrick Gower interviews New Zealand First leader Winston Peters