Maori party v. NZ First

The Maori Party and NZ First have been having a bit of a barney today.

It seems to have started with a chance clash between Marama Fox and a startled Richard Prosser this morning.

Newshub (includes video): Marama Fox attacks NZ First MP over Treaty let-down

Hundreds of Māori from around the country have cancelled trips to Wellington to witness the signing of Treaty settlements at Parliament on Friday.

New Zealand First has pulled its support for the settlements and that move led to a tearful and angry Māori Party co-leader confronting one of its MPs during a chance encounter in Newshub’s Parliament office.

“We’ve had tears on our phone. They’ve waited 30 years to bring this to Parliament. They’ve been dicked around enough and you buggers on a whim, on a bloody whim – you don’t even care,” she said as a Newshub camera filmed.

Te Ururoa Flavell let rip in General Debate in Parliament:

Ron Mark responded

(Thanks for the links PK)

Newshub: Taxpayers to cover travelling iwi after cancelled signing

Taxpayers will cover costs for hundreds of iwi members who have had to cancel plans to travel to Wellington to witness Treaty settlements.

The signing was put on hold after an objection from New Zealand First.

But what’s not perfect timing is Parliament extending its sitting hours to include this Friday, in order to sign off Treaty Settlements totalling almost a quarter of a billion dollars.

It’s business the Government says is being held to ransom by New Zealand First.

“It’s a stunt, it’s got the guy in the headlines. He’s out there again, using words like constitutional outrage etcetera,” complained Minister Gerry Brownlee.

Mr Peters argues the Bills contain errors, including specific wording.

“The provisions for appointed non-voted people on the committees is back in the legislation,” he says.

“There’s never really been a correlation between the word ‘merit’ and Winston Peters,” says Minister Chris Finlayson. “No, he’s just got things completely wrong.”

NZ First knows the Government has the numbers to pass the settlements – but that’s not stopping Mr Peters from holding up a stop sign.

“Foot the bill, Winston,” says Green Party’s Marama Fox.

“This is nothing more than a stunt, and you can pull out any little thing you can find to try and validate your stance – but this is a stunt, and nothing more.”

The Treaty Settlement Bills will remain on the order paper, essentially going back into the line, and with the Government’s legislative schedule full for the rest of the year, these five iwi will be waiting for some time.

Cross party support for family violence proposals

The Press editorial: Government’s $130 million family violence package is a solid start

A $130 million plan announced by the Government this week to crack down on violence in Kiwi homes has been welcomed by most victims, support and advocacy groups, and politicians on both sides of the House.

While there are some concerns and reservations, it is good to see cross party support for this.

Greens: Family violence law reforms will help

It is heartening that the Government is finally starting to address the failure of our justice system to provide protection for victims of family violence or support abusers to change,  the Green Party said today.

“Family violence is currently embedded in New Zealand culture and we all need to be brave to face the level of changes needed to address it,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Too many families have been further traumatised and indebted trying to get legal protection through our courts. Changes to legal aid and the Family Court last term prioritised cost-saving over protecting victims. These reforms will hopefully go some way to addressing that harm caused.

“All New Zealanders need to hear loud and clear the message that family violence, intimate partner violence, and violence against children is unacceptable.     

United Future: UNITEDFUTURE WELCOMES OVERDUE REFORMS TO TACKLE FAMILY VIOLENCE – DUNNE

UnitedFuture leader, Peter Dunne has welcomed the changes proposed today to strengthen New Zealand’s Family Violence laws.

“Our families are the bedrock of our communities and the rates of family violence we have in this country are appalling.

“These changes signal a much-needed shift in the way we respond to family violence,” said Mr Dunne.

“The key issue that needs to be focused on in New Zealand is the alarming fact that it is estimated nearly 80% of family violence incidents go unreported.

“If these reforms make any difference towards providing help to those people who currently do not feel safe or are not comfortable coming forward with their plight, then these policy initiatives will result in positive and meaningful reform.

“UnitedFuture congratulates the government for constructively responding to this unacceptable behaviour that is a blight to our families and communities”, said Mr Dunne.

ACT Party: ACT welcomes beefed up family violence laws, but…

ACT has welcomed the boost to family violence laws announced today, but questions why non-fatal strangulation isn’t a strike offence.

“ACT believes the justice system should always put the victim first. In that spirit, we’re relieved to see new protections for victims of family violence,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Reducing the cost and complexity of obtaining restraining orders is a no-brainer, and legislating against coercive marriage is an overdue protection of basic personal freedom.

“We also support the introduction of an offence for non-fatal strangulation. However, it’s perplexing to discover that non-fatal strangulation will not be included as a strike offence under the Three Strikes for Violent Crime legislation.

“The Three Strikes law, an ACT initiative, has been working well to keep repeat violent offenders behind bars and away from potential victims, so it’s disheartening to see it undermined by the current legislation. Strangulation, like all violent crime, is a serious offence and should be treated as such.”

NZ First via RNZ ‘I’ve seen the black eyes, no-one talks about it’

New Zealand First MP Denis O’Rourke said the measures were a step in the right direction.

“Fundamentally, what they’re saying is there needs to be more guidance, information and education on the one hand but also harsher penalties. I would have thought that that two-pronged approach is the right way to go,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Labour via RNZ ‘I’ve seen the black eyes, no-one talks about it’

Labour’s associate justice spokesperson Poto Williams said tighter bail conditions would increase safety for women and their children.

But she said the government should have made it easier for offenders to access services to help them stop violent behaviour.

Maori party via RNZ ‘I’ve seen the black eyes, no-one talks about it’

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said having witnessed domestic violence as a child, he hoped the changes would help reduce the appalling statistics.

Mr Flavell said family violence was prevalent in almost every neighbourhood and changes were certainly needed.

He said it was all too often swept under the rug.

“I’ve sat on a bunk next to my cousins and I’ve heard the smashing of the walls. I’ve heard the throwing of pots around the place. I’ve seen the black eyes – and no-one talks about it.”

Cabinet documents showed police attended an average of 280 family violence incidents each day.

Mr Flavell, who is Māori Development Minister, said everyone had a part to play in bringing down those rates.

“That’s the key – you’ve got to start bringing it out of the cupboard. We’ve got to put it out on the table.”

“There’s a part to play by the actual government, by changing laws but actually families have got to talk about it and do something about it.”

Flavell is right, it is not just up to Parliament and the Government to make improvements.

Families and communities “have got to talk about it and do something about it“.

While there are details to be worked out it is promising to see all parties supporting this attempt to reduce our insidious levels of family violence.

Post-truth, or the diss-information age

‘Post-truth’ is a term that has come to some prominence. It’s a lie – or more accurately, a lot of deliberate lies told by politicians.

The heralded age of information seems to have morphed into the disinformation age, or alternately the diss-information age.

From Art of the lie at The Economist – “Politicians have always lied. Does it matter if they leave the truth behind entirely?”

CONSIDER how far Donald Trump is estranged from fact.

Mr Trump is the leading exponent of “post-truth” politics—a reliance on assertions that “feel true” but have no basis in fact. His brazenness is not punished, but taken as evidence of his willingness to stand up to elite power. And he is not alone.

Winston Peters stands out as a long time maker of assertions that “feel true”but have scant basis in fact, or that he has no evidence for, or that he doesn’t provide any evidence of.

Most of the time Peters gets away with it, aided and abetted by an often willing media and sufficient gullible voters to keep him in Parliament. Sometimes it backlashes on Peters, for example when Tauranga voters rejected him in 2005 – although NZ First was still in a position to decide that Labour and not National or the Greens would be in Government with them.

And in 2008 when Peters tried to take the Tauranga electorate back and lost to Simon Bridges by 11,742 votes, and NZ First failed to make the threshold getting just 4.07% of the votes.

But Peters came back in 2011 and is now widely expected to again dictate which parties will govern after next year’s election. His bull continues, with a brazenness that is not punished, but is taken as evidence of his willingness to stand up to elite power.

Stacey Kirk shows that Peters is far from alone in New Zealand with brazen bullshit in Personal prejudices the fuel of a political post-truth era

There’s dealing in grey, and then there’s dealing in unashamed drivel. 

The latter is becoming the norm, though thankfully not on a Trumpian scale – just yet. 

Dipping their toes into the post-truth waters however, New Zealand’s politicians are trying the mantle on for size, seeing how flows and gaining surety in it as they walk. They’re dissembling through their teeth and embarrassingly, a significant group of New Zealanders are lapping it up. 

Kirk lists some examples:

  • Government politicians claim income inequality had not worsened, contrary to official reports from both MSD and Statistics NZ.
  • Finance Minister Bill English was forced to admit he used incorrect figures to veto an extension to paid parental leave, despite the correct figures being written in the veto certificate he himself tabled.
  • Education Minister Hekia Parata was caught out making up an official body, to support changes around special needs education when she claimed she had the support of the “Special Education Association”. What association was that?  “All those who are involved in the delivery of special education with whom I have had these discussions”.
  • NZ First MP and anti-1080 campaigner Richard Prosser claimed cats, rats, and native birds had “coexisted” for more than 200 years, yet accused the Government’s “Predator Free by 2050” of being based on “unsubstantiated” science.
  • Trade Minister Todd McClay was publicly rebuked by his own Prime Minister for being economical with the truth, over what was known about fears of Chinese trade retaliation.
  • Auckland Mayoral candidate John Palino has claimed iwi leaders were holding building consent-seekers to ransom for $50k a pop.

Even the ‘clean’ Greens indulge in blatant bull.

  • More children will suffer under a re-elected National government because it’s “in denial” over the reality of child poverty in New Zealand, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says.
  • “The New Zealand Government makes all sorts of promises on the international stage in relation to children’s rights, but when it comes to policy at every stage they fail our kids,” also from Turei.

And these sorts of assertions are taken as evidence by many of the willingness of the Greens to stand up for the poor kids.

There is a problem with bald faced bull, in New Zealand at least – the US has major problems, not just potentially with Trump, but also with Clinton (both Bill and Hillary) and it’s politics in general.

Greens have solid and loyal followers who think John Key doesn’t care about or hates kids, but they seem to have hit a ceiling of support.

Labour’s assertions that they finally have a leader who can look Prime Ministerial seem to have a limited gullible audience too.

But Peters seems to be on a roll, with NZ First polling far better at this stage of a term than they have for yonks.

Yet the masses fall into line based on what “feels” like it might be true. 

And I get it, voting is an emotional experience as much as it is logical. Even the most well-researched voters can’t block out that gut-feeling when they’re faced with a ballot paper – the option that they feel is the right one.

Many Americans (and some Kiwis) are convinced that Trump is ‘the right one’. And it seems a growing number of New Zealand voters are buying Winston’s bull and bluster.

That politicians deal in lies is not new. What is, is the way the truth has become secondary to reaffirming people’s latent prejudices. 

Pandering to prejudices and entrenched misconceptions is not new either (Peters has done it for decades) but it seems to be growing.

Politicians lie, media do call them out on it, but they double down and repeat. Why? Because they’re not trying to convince anyone that requires it of anything. They’re consolidating a mob – Us vs Them.

Yes, they are pandering to mob mentality. But do the media call them out on it? Sometimes, but they are also guilty of feeding it. That’s how Trump got within a whisker of the White House.

And here Key and his Ministers and their PR teams play the media. Peters is an expert at extracting maximum bang for his bull from the media. The Greens are hardly held to account by the media.

The only party that is failing with the media and the gullible voters is Labour. Are they the worst liars – or the worst at lying?

This is a two-sided game, and this kind of politics only works if people are buying it.

New Zealanders have a right to expect evidence and be given information that can and should be used at the ballot box, next year. 

For that to happen, we all need to check our own biases first.

A lie is only effective if you fall for it.

This could be as true for media as it is for voters.

PR churn is a major problem. Giving bullshit from politicians the headline, not always holding them to account, giving counter claims secondary exposure, giving politicians the opportunity to keep repeating their misleading and false assertions – this is a problem accentuated by the Internet, where clicks are the revenue makers.

Social media, with many more ways of lying and a myriad of competitors for eyeballs and eardrums, has just made an old problem worse.

Forums for debate are largely ineffective. Try arguing about socialism or climate change or Islam or any of a wide range of topics, and you will find that most participants start with entrenched views regardless of the facts and are more likely to end up with their views reinforced rather than challenged.

We must stop using fossil fuels or the planet is doomed. When Muslims get to 5% of the population a country is doomed. If people with different languages or customs or religions emigrate our country is doomed.

If these sorts of assertions are repeated often enough – and there are parties and lobby groups and activists who go to great lengths to keep repeating assertions to try and make them stick – then there are significant numbers of people who will believe them, regardless of the facts.

Post-truth, lies, unsubstantiated assertions, smearing hit jobs, none of these a re new but  they seem to be becoming more prominent and powerful.

Post-truth is a lie. A lot of what politicians and media perpetuate are lies, or untruthful claims, and assertions, or smears. Or a mixture of bullshit.

The only thing I’m not sure about is how much is deliberate lying, and how much is ignorance of people who actually believe their own lies.

The age of the Internet, the information age, seems to amplify the worst and seems to have become the disinformation age.

And where negative attack politics seems to rule, or at least try and rule, the diss-information age, where false information is deliberately used to attack, smear and discredit.

Are we doomed?

 

Radicalisation of the Greens and Labour

Losing Russel Norman last year and now losing Kevin Hague are blows to the Green Party. Their replacement MPs move Greens more towards a radical social activist party.

Norman did a lot to try and ‘normalise’ the Greens, to make them appear as if they were credible on business and economic matters in particular. He succeeded to an extent.

But last year he decided to move on (to Greenpeace). He was replaced by next on the list, Marama Davidson, who is more of a social activist who has attracted some attention, currently to the forefront of the inquiry into homelessness.

Hague tried to take over Norman’s co-leadership position but was rejected. Hague was one of  the Green’s best assets as a practical and hard worker who backed his principles but was prepared to work with anyone from any party or political leaning to try and achieve results.

Hague is now moving on to head Forest and Bird. So both he and Norman have moved on to environmental roles, and away from the Green Party.

Hague’s replacement will be next on the list, Barry Coates. He used to head Oxfam, and  aid organisation that has become more active in promoting social reform.

Coates has been leading anti-TPP protests in New Zealand. Social activism.

Norman’s replacement as co-leader, James Shaw, has not made a huge impression yet.

Greens’ other co-leader Metiria Turei has been involved in social activism for some time.

Greens could soften their radicalisation somewhat if they elevated Julie Anne Genter, but despite quiet rumours there is no solid sign of Turei stepping aside or down. Fortunately Genter at least looks to be a stayer at this stage.

While Greens do promote environmental issues such as clean rivers and climate change they appear to be moving more towards social activism with a strong socialist tinge.

Greens were ambitious last election so were disappointed not to increase their share of the vote in 2014, despite Labour’s weakening. They seem to have hit a Green ceiling.

This year they have entered into a Memorandum or Understanding with Labour so they can campaign as a combined Labour-Green ticket.

Labour under Andrew Little’s leadership also seem to be trying to move left and have also become more involved in social activism, promoting a number of petitions and joining the Greens in the homeless inquiry, and also appear in part at least to oppose the TPP.

With the growing radicalisation of the Greens and their closer association with a more radical Labour it’s no wonder Winston Peters sees growth potential for NZ First in the centre.

Greens and Labour may think their future lies in popular movements similar to Bernie Sanders in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK but neither of them have succeeded yet beyond exciting a vocal minority.

While our next election is probably more than a year away Greens and Labour have tied their colours to the campaign mast – fairly red colours with a tinge of green. They either know something about the future intention of voters that isn’t apparent, or are taking a huge punt.

It’s probably about 50/50 whether National would need NZ First to form the next government. It’s closer to 90/10 that Labour+Greens would require NZ First.

A more radical Greens+Labour plus the determination of Peters to remain an unknown quantity will be a hard sell to voters. Add to that recent policy announcements on education and housing indicate an attempt to outdo Labour’s large spending promises and we could have a fairly radical option next year, versus National plodding along.

 

No early election – but what about two?

Very unsurprisingly John Key has said he has no intention of precipitating an early election. There is currently no good reason for one, and the Government would be nuts go there.

Newstalk ZB: Key shoots down prospect of early election

Prime Minister John Key has shot down Winston Peters’ prediction that there will be an early election next year.

The NZ First leader said on Monday the government wouldn’t last a full term and would have to call an early election because it was having a bad run and had made too many mistakes.

Mr Key doesn’t think so.

“There’s nothing I can see that would indicate an early election, and on the basis of that it will be in the back half of next year.”

Mr Key says he’s likely to announce the date early next year.

That’s standard practice for Key, as it should be, with plenty of prior notice of the next election expected.

There’s been speculation and posturing about the possibility of an early election, but I think two elections are more likely, one near or at the end of the term as it should be, and another soon after if Peters holds the balance of power and proves too difficult to deal with (and Greens unwilling to support a national government).

If negotiations after next year’s election reach a stalemate due to National and Labour+Greens refusing to accept Winston’s terms for a governing arrangement then we may have to go to the polls again.

That could backfire on NZ First if they are seen as the cause of inflicting another election campaign on the public so soon after an extended barrage of bull.

It would also be very difficult for Labour in particular to finance another campaign.

I hope we don’t get a double barrelled barrage through two elections, but I think there’s more chance of that than an early election.

Voters (enough to make a difference) may choose to avert this, as they have done for the last few elections.

Another NZ First donation controversy

Last week Winston Peters blasted the announcement of New Zealand People’s Party being set up by immigrants. He claimed they were a front for the National Party. But Peters has been busted by NewsHub.

Revealed: Winston Peters in $3k Indian donation controversy

The headline is inaccurate, it wasn’t an ‘Indian donation’, it was made in New Zealand presumably by a new Zealand citizen.

Winston Peters is caught up in a donations controversy after his New Zealand First party took $3000 from the founder of the new immigrant-focused People’s Party.

Newshub can reveal the money was taken after Mr Peters met with Indian businessman Roshan Nauhria over dinner at Auckland’s India Gate restaurant in the days before the 2014 election

On Saturday, Mr Peters told TV3’s The Nation that the People’s Party was “a National Party front”.

“The person that was the spokesperson and the temporary leader for that party just at a recent raffle for fundraising for the National Party offered $20,000 in a bid for the Prime Minister to have breakfast at his place. He got beaten by a bid of $27,000. This is a National Party front,” Mr Peters said.

But Mr Nauria subsequently said he had given a donation to NZ First, accusing Mr Peters of hypocrisy.

Busted. But Peters is denying being involved in receiving the cheque (but hasn’t denied NZ First receiving it).

Asked about Mr Nauhria’s donation, Mr Peters initial response was to say: “Okay well, if that’s the case he’ll show you a receipt won’t he? Has he shown you the receipt?

The number one thing you need to do is show me the evidence not just come along and repeat an allegation and think you are going to slide past it like that – that won’t do.”

It’s worth repeating “The number one thing you need to do is show me the evidence not just come along and repeat an allegation and think you are going to slide past it like that” – that’s the sort of thing that Peters has often done. Except that he often fails to produce evidence, while Newshub have a copy of the cheque.

However, Mr Peters did not deny a donation was given, saying: “he may have given it to somebody else at the meeting and I have been to the restaurant, that’s true, and a group of Indian people wanted to talk to me, that’s a fact, but as for anything else – that would be in the knowledge of someone else but not me.”

Even if Nauhria is not correct in saying he gave the cheque personally to Peters (Peters has been found out in the past on fibbing about a donation from own Glenn) this is a bit awkward for Peters and for NZ First.

WinstonDonationNewshub

He wasn’t a happy looking chap.

NZ First succession

There was some odd talk about leadership succession in New Zealand First during their conference.

There was one bizarre snippet from One News in Peters ‘not interested in going on’ if not kingmaker after election:

If Mr Peters isn’t kingmaker next year, is his time up?

“Otherwise, I’m not personally interested in going on, and neither would my party be,” he said.

Without context it’s hard to know what he actually meant with that comment but he can’t be relied on to stand by it anyway.

He also said:

“Oh look, it’s in the good book, any man who sets his hand to the plough and then looks backwards is not fit for the kingdom of heaven,” he said.

He tried to explain that in his conference speech but he lost me. Does it mean he has been crooked but will just keep ploughing on regardless? Or does he think he’s on track to be God?

Peters is not the only NZ First leader who seems to have high estimations of their worth.

Deputy leader Ron Mark started his own speech by talking about succession.

He said he thinks about what would happen if he died in a car crash during one of many trips over the Rimutakas: “I’m always talking to the caucus – one of you has to be prepared to step into my shoes.”

Those are the shoes he wrestled off Tracey Martin, but this is an odd way to start a conference speech. That is from Nicholas Jonesd (NZH) in Shane Jones and New Zealand First, could it happen? Also:

There was also a strange tangent, when Mark said Labour’s recent criticism of Corrections came after it sought to cover-up the behaviour of a rogue prison guard “goon squad” when in government.

“Goon squad leaders were making their squad members put their penis on the bar so they could hit it with a beer bottle and show them how tough they are,” Mark told the hall. “That actually happened.”

Even for a speech to fire up party delegates it was a bit much detail. And helps explain the speculation swirling around Jones.

So what about the Shane Jones speculation? It’s nothing new, it has been talked about for years. Jones is apparently on a three year diplomatic contract until the middle of next year so it is likely to remain nothing more than speculation for quite a while.

But even if Jones stands for NZ First in Whangarei next year it’s far from a given that he would win. Then he would have an even bigger battle over Mark’s shoes.

Mark provided more evidence of why he would struggle to succeed Peters successfully. They are both political rogues but at least Peters is likeable to some.

And if Jones stands in Whangerei and wins, and Peters doesn’t become king maker and retires, and Jones manages to pull off Mark’s shoes, is he really leadership material? He had a shot at the top job in Labour but didn’t make it – and then wasn’t interested in going on with the party.

It’s hard to see Jones filling Peters’ shoes, which have trodden the country many times. Does Jones have that drive?

Speculation about succession is pointless while Peters is still on the NZ First throne anyway.

Winston’s conference speech

Winston Peters’ speech at the New Zealand First conference in Dunedin was open to the public so I went along for a look and a listen. Over the years (many) I’ve seen a lot of Peters on television but never in person.

He was much as he often appears – an eloquent hero for some, and bullshitting, hypocritical, abusive, complaining political charlatan to others.

There’s no doubt that NZ First is thriving as a party. There was a large and enthusiastic crowd at the party’s first ever conference in Dunedin, buoyed by Peters’ success in winning the Northland electorate and riding on unusually persistent poll support.

The crowed frequently clapped and cheered and laughed at Peters’ performance.

And it was a slick, well practiced performance. When Toby Manhire asked on Twitter for the speech Andrea  Vance responded “you could just look at last year’s, or the year before that, or the year”. There were some new bits but it was vintage Peters.

Peters attacked and ridiculed a number of people, much to his own amusement, including John Key, Judith Collins, media, academics, online pundits and particularly One News. Andrea Vance also covered this in Winston Peters launches fiery attacks on polls, rivals, media at NZ First conference.

And finally he took aim at the media, claiming he wasn’t asked onto TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning.

“Never had the intellectual fortitude, integrity or outright decency to ask us on the programme,” he said.

In fact Mr Peters was twice invited on Q+A, and twice backed out.

“I’ve seen some downright lies in politics,” he said.

But that won’t stop Peters from continuing to lie, and to display disconnects with reality. Like saying he and his party knew from experience what being homeless was like.

As well as making a (very old) lame joke about manual labour, Peters claimed that unlike Key (who he derided and then laughed at his ‘humour’ (along with the crowd) he and NZ First knew from experience what being a real worker was like.

From Toby Manhire: Power ranking Winston Peters’ sick burns

Was the joke better when Hal Roach did it about 50 years ago? Or when Winston Peters unleashed it in 2015, or 2014, or 2003, or 1999?

Peters laughed at it as much as he may have fifty years ago.

There are many people who will never warm to Peters. Like me – I wondered if he would exude some sort of respectable mana in person but no, he was just an extended version of the sound bite Winston that I’m familiar with.

But his fan club looks to be as strong as ever. They don’t care if he makes things up, they are happy to go along with whatever he dishes out.

The big question will be whether Peters and NZ First can grow their fan club. They seem to have loft ambitions – to be the number one party in Parliament, dishing out utu to all the parties, politicians and journalists he has slagged and slandered for decades.

There are certainly opportunities for NZ First to grow, if there are more people that can be sucked in by the political charlatan.

They are targeting Labour votes, and there is potential there as Labour continues to look vulnerable to collapse.

They are targeting disaffected National voters, and there’s a good chance there will be quite a few looking for an alternative next election.

Peters also says they have the technology to bypass the media filter and deliver their messages directly to the public (no sign of that yet).

He says they are targeting the ‘missing million’, the non-voters that the Greens and their proxies failed to get to the polling booths last election.

Does Peters have or can he achieve mass appeal? That’s a big unknown. He and his party are riding relatively high, but they are aiming much higher. Peters may be the king of rhetoric but I doubt he can fool most of the people for one election.

This could be Winston’s last bid for political stardom. Fourteen months is a long time to ride the current wave of support. And if he achieves his king maker goal the real work will begin then. Does he have that in him?

NZ First conference – policies

NZ First have announced several policies at their conference over the weekend. This far out from next year’s election these appear to be trying to position themselves for polls, in particular to compete with Labour for support.

Both Ron Mark and Winston Peters indicate that they are trying to portray NZ First as an alternative lead party to both National and Labour. They aren’t likely to get close to National but could give Labour a good hoozle up.

Yesterday education spokeswoman Tracey Martin’s announced a policy that would provide all tertiary students with free study as long as they don’t leave New Zealand for as long as they spent getting their education. This goes further than Labour’s free tertiary policy – and has been costed at $4.6 billion, presumably per year.

Today Winston Peters announced another education policy, to give all secondary pupils a pathway to get their driver’s license. The reasoning behind this was because over a half of Maori first offenders were pinged for driving with no license.

This policy also included NZ First’s core demographic – they say that retirees would do the teaching to drive.

Another policy announcement would fast track a heap more police officers to address crime problems.

Peters also intimated that Labour’s policy to build 10,000 houses a year was nowhere near enough and they would build many more, but gave no details.

Peters also attacked National and Labour numerous times in his conference speech, also attacked the Maori and Green parties a bit, and blasted online commenters and the media several times.

In particular Peters blasted TV One for not having him in Q&A this morning on an item on immigration.

Peters said they planned to use the Internet to bypass the media and speak directly to ‘the people’. He also said they intended to target the ‘missing million’, the non-voters.that Greens and Labour failed to attract last election.

More of my impressions of Peters’ speech in a separate post.

People’s Party none of Peters’ business

On The Nation this morning Winston Peters did some more grumbling about the recently announced New Zealand People’s Party, saying he is utterly opposed to it.

So what? It’s none of his business whether anyone else wants to start up a new party or not.

Peters seems to be utterly opposed to existing parties too, like the Maori Party, United Future, the Green Party, the Mana Party. He seems to be utterly opposed to immigration. He seems to be opposed to anything that’s not him.

Newshub: New Zealand People’s Party is a ‘National Party front’ – Winston Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has lashed out again at the new Indian-led New Zealand People’s Party, accusing it of being a front for the National Party.

Speaking to TV3’s The Nation, Mr Peters accused the New Zealand People’s Party of trying to split the Labour vote in the Mt Roskill electorate, thus enabling National to win the seat.

Peters played parties, especially National and Labour, in the Northland by-election, enabling him to win. That’s called politics. Peters just doesn’t seem to like it when anyone else does it.

“It splits other party’s votes… They’re setting up a movement based on race and my party is utterly opposed to it.”

Any party can split other parties votes, that’s sort of a fundamental of politics and elections.

I don’t know if the New Zealand People’s Party is based on race. I haven’t seem them say anything about limiting membership to Indians or to immigrants. But they can try whatever they like.

The Winston movement is based on age (sort of, one of his key demographics is the Grey vote).

When the New Zealand Seniors Party was announced in June Peters also slagged them off – see Peters unimpressed with new ‘disgruntled pensioners’ party.

Peters seems to think he owns the grumpy old man vote.

What he may really be grumpy about regarding the expected Roskill by-election is that he is unlikely to have much influence there, especially if he bitches about immigrants daring to propose new parties.

But Winston being Winston anything that gives him a chance to stir up anti-immigration sentiment he will play as much as he can, even if there’s no short term gain for him.

Peters seems to have an arrogance that shows as petulance against any peasants if they threaten his role as king (maker).

Whoever is behind the People’s Party, and whoever they try to attract as members and voters, is none of Winston’s business.