Winston Muldoon

Richard Harman at Politik looks at the links between Robert Muldoon and Winston Peters in  What Winston really wants

And so over the past week Peters and his bus have been touring the South Island’s provincial towns.

In Invercargill; he promised to nationalise the aluminium smelter; in Gore to compel Government departments to purchase wool carpets and everywhere he promised to return GST to the region where it was gathered.

It was pure Muldoonism, and Sir Robert would have been proud of the man he once said would be New Zealand’s first Maori Prime Minister.

To get a picture of the relationship between the two you need only look again at National’s campaign ads from the 1978 campaign. They featured a young, devilishly good looking Winton Peters interviewing Sir Robert about great issues of the day like how to bring inflation down to around 10 per cent or how to stop unions going on strike all the time.

He still sees Muldoon as someone who had an economic plan that worked.

“There were a whole lot of things that were happening under Muldoon when the second oil shock happened in 1979,” he says.

“I can name you ten things from outdoor movie theatres to removing the restriction road transport competing with railways — a whole lot of policies were being changed when the second oil shock happened, and we then focussed on alternative energy development.”

And he still believes.

But what does he want now?

It’s hard to know what Peters really wants. Some of his closest friends believe he still wants to be Prime Minister. John Key recently told a Cabinet Minister that he doesn’t think so.

He thinks Peters would sooner sit on the cross benches and hold the balance of power and force the Prime Minister to come and bargain with him on every vote in the House.

Key says that way Peters would become the de facto Prime Minister.

One thing is probably certain and that is he will stretch any post election negotiaitons he is involved in as far as he can go.

There are stories about him continuously upping the ante with Jim Bolger during the 1996 coalition negotiations which saw Bolger trekking back and forth between the Naitonal Caucus room and Peters’ office.

But now Peters refuses to discuss his team for any negotiations.

“I’ve not thought one thing about after the election because unless we get the result that we want it is all immaterial,”

But he has apparently recruited his barrister, Brian Henry, to play a role.

Whether that imposes order remains to be seen.

But maybe we have all been getting Peters wrong for a long time now. Maybe the focus on what he might want — the “baubles of office”  or which party he might form a Government with ignores what he is really all about.

You have to go back to Dargaville to understand that then and then ask  yourself what would Holyoake, or  Muldoon have done.

Winston’s current slogan on Twitter: “it’s common sense”.

Perhaps it’s common sense for those who yearn for the good old days half a century ago.

Holyoake’s 80%

David Farrar raised an interesting historical fact on Kiwiblog:

Even Keith Holyoake once said he only agreed with about 80% of what his Government did.

I often think of 80%. If you are in agreement with 80% of 80% of a party’s policies you should be doing pretty well.

I think I’m around 80% agreement (give or take a bit) with United Future and National at the moment. And I may not be far off 80% with Act either.

I wouldn’t be far off that with Labour either on policy, except that some of their recent major policy lurches I haven’t agreed. I’m at a lot lower % on agreeing with their methods at the moment though, they’re far too negative.

I think a problem a lot of bloggees have – like Harawira – is they want 100% their way, which means they get closer to 100% frustration and 0% results.

Another 80% I think of is an 80% positive approach to politics (unlike some parties currently in opposition). I think it’s nuts not to try and achieve positively most of the time, but you have to allow for being sucked into the hubris at times, and especially allow for confronting and standing up to crap.

It’s obviously not a fixed amount, there are plenty of variables, but 80% seems like a good focus to base things on.

I support Peter Dunne’s efforts throughout his political career about 80%, he’s generally done very well including unique achievements, but anyone who has been in politics as long as him will have clocked up a few disagreements and mistakes.

But I’d rate Dunne somewhere around 90% over the last year, he’s achieved, he’s done some very sensible things, and he has been very good to work with.

I’d put Key at around 80%, generally he gets an easy pass mark but there are some notable disagreements, like on NZ Super and the monarchy and NZ flag.

It’s too soon to judge David Shearer, but I’m about 80% hopeful he will turn around to being 80% positive and will have then 80% ready to form the next government.