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.