Adjournment debate – Winston Peters

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister): Thank you very much. That was eyebrow-raising stuff—and I don’t use Botox! All that criticism, for almost 10 minutes, and not one new idea. Out there in the provinces, in the hamlets of this country, all those people who were expecting something at least now, at the start of this campaign, from the leader of the National Party just got carp, can’t, and criticism, but no vision, no plan, no policy.

Worse still, after nine years of doing nothing about the Resource Management Act, she says we’re at fault. Extraordinary. This is somebody who’s a trained lawyer saying that sort of stuff. [Hon Judith Collins stands] Don’t go now—this is your best chance to learn something!

Can I say to all the staff here—the cleaners; the caterers; the guards; the drivers; library and Hansard and many office staff; and you, Mr Speaker, and your staff, who have been of great assistance to us, sometimes not as much as usual but usually of great assistance to us—thank you very, very much. And can I say to my colleagues in New Zealand First that our caucus has been united by consensus decision-making—

Hon Member: Goodbye.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —hard work, and civility. I’ll be around long after you’re gone, sunshine, and I was here for decades before you arrived. Don’t you feel bad?

The quality of our caucus has been very, very good, so thanks to you, as well as to our parliamentary and ministerial staff. And to the seventh floor of the Beehive, thank you for your—in inverted commas—frank advice. It’s been an excellent office to work for, the very best, and can I say that coming up to night time, at about five to six when we stop for a quiz, they are absolutely brilliant, as Grant Robertson can attest to.

Can I say, we made the right decision on 19 October 2017.

Hon Member: You don’t sound very enthusiastic.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: You know, I cannot believe that you’d be so youthful in shouting out these shibboleths when you know nothing or you’re the living proof for what George Bernard Shaw said: “He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything.”—which truly points to a career in politics. Good God.

It was a tough choice for caucus—

Hon Member: You’ve been telling those jokes for 40 years.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: —and for our board colleagues, but three years—well, not as big a joke as you are, my colleague. But three years on and we have no regrets. National had run out of answers. It was making and framing the wrong questions, and only a change of course was going to allow the policy transformation that we sought.

When this term began and through the first months, you can remember the cacophony of sound from some in the media that the Government wouldn’t last. Well, last we have. Providing stable and constructive Government again is now an undeniable fact, and we’re proud of our record. We recall the media trepidation, Prime Minister, when you said that you were going to have a baby. Well! The sky was going to fall in. “The Government will hit the rocks.”—that was the basic refrain of the proletariat. But the ship of state didn’t flounder; it kept on sailing calmly throughout until you came back.

We stand on our record in office for what we’ve achieved, for honouring the commitments, for leaving the country in a better position after inheriting nine years of neo-liberal neglect. What’s worse with these neo-liberals is they don’t even understand the philosophy. It shows up every day, because so many of them have never been in business, and their chief articulator wouldn’t know what a business was or is, and that’s the truth.

No less than the New Zealand Herald, though, just recently said—and it’s not one of our most vocal fans, the New Zealand Herald, but they trumpeted our 80-plus percent success rate in getting our coalition agreement policies delivered. It’s because of our steady focus on delivering the coalition agreement, and we’ve never softened from it. If you doubt that, ask some of my colleagues on this side of the Chamber.

We’re here to get by and to work hard with two other parties: the Labour Party, being our coalition partner, and also the support party for the Labour Party in terms of the Greens. We were never forced to agree. If we did, we wouldn’t be three separate parties. We wanted the narrative to be more intelligent, more wise, and more factual and actual. The Prime Minister announced that we’ve got over 190 bills passed. That suggests that we have got by on agreeing on most of the things, or, if we couldn’t, that we got to a compromise and got there in the end.

A hundred and ninety is a staggering testimony to progress. History will judge the coalition agreement as one of the most significant agreements in modern political history, and here’s why: we signalled a long-term strategic plan to rebuild our country, and we had the audacity to demand it—to demand that we had things like a billion trees, which was unthought of; to demand that we spend $3 billion out in neglected provincial New Zealand, the places we go to and get elbowed aside every day by National Party members, whilst they come down here and use the clown—sorry, I can’t say that; use the MP from Epsom—to downgrade with a cacophony of envy every time, as though Epsom and he know anything about the Kaitāias, the Invercargills, the west and east coasts of this country, the very people who drive the economy to pay his salary. He dumps on it.

And the Prime Minister said they’re going to go out and two votes for blue. Well, I’ve just been to Tauranga recently and the Bay of Plenty, and guess what I saw—guess what I saw. I saw the photographs, the posters up there, of three National Party leaders: Mr Bridges, Mr Muller, and Judith Collins. Three, all up in the same province, in the same area in the Western Bay of Plenty. No wonder the people down there are confused—terribly confused.

Chris Bishop: One of them is the one who beat you.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Mr Bishop, leave it alone. I mean, that member’s got a long way to go before he’s going to be frontbench material. He just hasn’t got the learning capacity. He doesn’t seem to be able to absorb that the most fundamental thing in this business is to do your homework and get the facts right—be impervious to attack because you got the facts right. Let me say, when the Provincial Growth Fund came under attack, guess what they tried to do about it. They tried to say it was a slush fund.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: It is.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: There is Gerry Brownlee saying it is a slush fund. Well, you know, the people of Christchurch would have wished he’d have done something too, because he was in charge of its rebuild, and I’ve never seen someone so incompetent. Of course, people don’t realise that Gerry Brownlee’s experience in business is five weeks running an illegal casino, before Winston Peters outed him and the president of the National Party, one Goodfellow. Five weeks running an illegal casino, and a colleague across the House, namely yours truly, outed him, and that’s his total business experience. Those National Party people up in the gallery who were cheering don’t know that, do they?

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Yes, they do.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: They’re not cheering now. Oh, they do.

Can I say that in this time, we preserved the SuperGold card. We got it improved. We got over 5,000 new business, 130,000 people using the app, and we’ve got another improvement coming in the future. But on top of that, in the last Budget we secured one eye test for superannuitants a year—that will save 5,000 to 7,000 people from going blind, by early identification—and one free doctor’s visit. If only one of those people in the hundred doesn’t go to the hospital as a result of that test, it’s fiscally neutral.

These are the far-sighted plans that New Zealand First has, and we thank the Labour Party and, dare I say it, the Greens for ensuring that this was maintained.

It’s critical, but we know for whom the ferry will call if they get into power, because their last outing when it came to super wasn’t very good. They promised to get rid of the surtax, and when they got in, they put it up to 92c in the dollar. That fellow in Epsom—that’s exactly what he will do, because he’s going to save $82 billion of expenditure.

I can see why you people aren’t smiling any more, because they’re seriously shaken. If he’s going to save $82 billion of expenditure, guess who’s going to feel the pain for that—and it won’t be Gerry Brownlee. It won’t be their front bench—no, no. It’ll be all those people who were fooled to go and vote for them in the first place. Every economist has said that’s impossible.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: No, they haven’t.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Oh yes they have. Well, if the number one spokesman for the National Party is a woodwork teacher, you can see what their problem is.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: That’s right—that’s right. Winston hates the workers.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS: Hear that? He thinks that noise and bluster substitutes for policy. Excuse me. The National Party may be making a comeback sometime, but it’s not any time soon. I’m saddened by that, because the people of this country need a sound, strong Opposition. They need people of talent and capability, and they need far better than what they’re getting now. So to our people out there, our message is: hang on. The campaign starts on Saturday morning, and help is on its way. Thank you very much.

Green flip-flop on waka jumping riles NZ First

There may be a bit of payback with the Green party support of a National MP bill repealing the waka jumping bill that they supported in 2018 due to ‘honouring the coalition agreement’.

NZ First aren’t happy, saying the Greens can’t be trusted, but there’s a large dollop of pot calling kettle black there.

NZ First and Labour made a commitment in their coalition agreement:

Introduce and pass a ‘Waka Jumping’ Bill.

From the Labour-Green agreement:

Both parties to this agreement recognise that Labour will be working with other parties both in terms of coalitions and confidence and supply arrangements.

Labour agrees that it will not enter into any other relationship agreement which is inconsistent with this agreement and the Green Party and Labour agree that they will each act in good faith to allow all such agreements to be complied with.

Because of this Greens voted for the bill in 2018 despite opposing it. But they are now supporting a repeal of the members’ bill currently before Parliament – ELECTORAL (INTEGRITY REPEAL) AMENDMENT BILL

Rt Hon DAVID CARTER (National):

I haven’t canvassed other political parties, and I acknowledge that Labour advanced the legislation I’m attempting to repeal early in 2018, but I’m certainly hoping all members will give careful consideration to this bill, because this bill attempts to actually put integrity back into our electoral system. It’s about improving the integrity of our system.

To become a member of Parliament isn’t easy, and having got here, whether you come as an Independent—which is a very fraught way—or you come as a member of Parliament, you come with a conscience. You come with a responsibility to form an opinion on issues and to speak with your conscience, if you’re a list MP, or, if you’re an electorate MP, to speak with a conscience that represents the people that elected you to this House. Though this bill is about allowing MPs to exercise that conscience, it’s about not coming to this Parliament to simply be—as some members of Parliament have described in the past—cannon fodder, or a puppet to a political party.

Now, we all know the history of this legislation that I’m attempting to change today. It was the price of the current Government—the Labour – New Zealand First – Green Government—doing a deal with New Zealand First, and I know why he needs that sort of control. History tells us.

I want to just, in conclusion, in my last couple of minutes, note for the House the number of times dissension has actually been significant and relevant to the New Zealand parliamentary process. I can think myself, long before I was here, of Marilyn Waring, in 1984. She threatened to cross the floor, and caused the well-known snap election that caused the end of the Muldoon era. Jim Anderton, a loyal member of the Labour Party, until he argued that the Labour Party had left him and his principles, so he set up The Alliance party. Dame Tariana Turia, one of the most respected members of Parliament I’ve had the privilege of working with, didn’t agree with the Labour Party. She said so, walked out, and started her own party—the Māori Party—which made a significant contribution to New Zealand’s democracy.

And Mr Peters himself, a member of the National caucus, disagreed with National, walked out, formed his own party, and no one can argue that it hasn’t been a significant contributor to New Zealand politics over that time.

So there will be robust debate around this bill. I certainly hope the Green Party will be careful with its contribution and will deliberate carefully, because I note as I read their contributions last time that they were never comfortable with being forced into the position of supporting this legislation.

Greg O’Connor and Peeni Henare both spoke, saying the Labour would oppose the bill.

Then Tracey Martin from NZ First spoke:

Hon TRACEY MARTIN (NZ First): Kia ora, Madam Speaker. I rise on behalf of New Zealand First to oppose the bill. What we are seeing, and the New Zealand public needs to understand, is this is a personal vendetta by two members who feel that they have been personally slighted some 20-odd years ago. That is what this is about. And the member’s bill ballot has finally provided them with an opportunity to take a dig.

The New Zealand First Party does not believe that this is how this House should be used, for personal vendettas. The purpose of the original bill—

Hon Members: Ha, ha!

Hon TRACEY MARTIN: And what you hear, ladies and gentlemen, is the sense of entitlement that wafts away from Mr Carter and Mr Smith. They believe that they are elected and once they are elected, even if they choose to deny the platform upon which they were elected, that you must suffer them.

And I say to the Green Party: there is a time and a place to stand up and keep one’s word. There is a time and a place to acknowledge commitments made and stick with them, and I’ll be interested to see later tonight whether the Green Party has the integrity to vote their word, as opposed to deciding in the final days of a Parliament that they don’t need a relationship any more, going forward, that they don’t need to keep an agreement or a word given, and we will see what the Green Party does with regard to their integrity. We do not support the bill.

Chloe Swarbrick spoke for the Greens:

Everybody has stood up tonight and given pretty high and mighty speeches. There’s been a lot of talk about principle, but the fact of the matter is, is not all too many people have actually acknowledged the machinations behind the scenes here tonight, and that is politics. The Parliament of Aotearoa New Zealand is, as I think most in this House would be aware, one of the most whipped in the world. What that means is that even though we have heard some speeches from members of the Opposition about the importance of things like freedom of speech, you’ve still had a speech from one of your departing members today who spoke to the fact that they had to vote against what they felt was their conscience in coming forward with a caucus position.

There’s also the case, as was noted by members on this side of the House, the fact of the matter that we have a very tribalist system. I think all of us have seen just how ugly that can get. That adversarial system has produced some of the worst behaviour in this place. But on top of that it has resulted in some very archaic first past the post thinking, particularly in what the major parties see and characterise as safe seats. I think that’s a great example, actually, of the flaws of our present adversarial system.

There’s been a lot of talk about the Greens from speeches of both the Opposition and governing parties tonight. I think that it’s really important that we are deeply clear…

And that the Opposition doesn’t heckle me right now, because the Greens will honour our 20 year position on voting on this legislation tonight in much the same way that we honoured the coalition agreements and voting for the legislation that originally put it into place…

So, maybe politics would be a whole lot better if politicians stop talking about themselves as we are tonight. If politicians want a code of conduct, as we’re talking about, and how we treat each other, particularly within our parties, then perhaps we could best start by all signing up to the recommendations of the Francis review. The Greens commend this bill to the House.

A party vote was called for on the question,That the Electoral (Integrity Repeal) Amendment Bill be read a first time.

Ayes 64

New Zealand National 54; Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand 8; ACT New Zealand 1; Ross.

Noes 55

New Zealand Labour 46; New Zealand First 9.

Bill read a first time.

Outside of Parliament it was leaders James Shaw and Winston Peters clashing.

Just over two years ago Parliament passed the controversial waka-jumping legislation after the Green Party voted in favour of something they’d spent decades opposing.

RNZ: James Shaw and Winston Peters go head to head over waka-jumping

The Electoral Integrity Amendment Bill was born out of the Labour-New Zealand First coalition deal.

It requires MPs who quit, or are expelled from a political party, to leave Parliament then and there.

The Greens hate the bill and think it is anti-democratic and draconian but co-leader James Shaw begrudgingly gave his party’s support to it in 2018.

In a complete reversal, the Greens last night threw their support behind a bill to repeal it, enraging New Zealand First.

There may be some utu in this as well as the greens going back to their principles – NZ First have not honoured their coalition agreement in opposing Green policies.

New Zealand First has a track record of pulling support for Labour-Green policies at the eleventh hour.

There’s been the capital gains tax, cameras on fishing boats, and more recently light rail from Auckland city to the airport.

Peters said comparisons can’t be drawn between light rail and waka-jumping.

“We did the work on light rail, the costings and the analysis did not back it up.”

He said the Greens’ were breaking their end of the deal.

“They’re signed up to the coalition agreement on this matter for three years and that term does not end until the 19th of September.”

Peters said the Greens can’t be trusted and voters should remember that on election day.

Polls suggest voters trust NZ First (and Peters in particular) less than the Greens.

Shaw rejected that criticism.

“I think it’s a bit rich for Winston to suggest that we’re not trustworthy when in fact they’re the ones who have been entirely slippery with the interpretation of our confidence and supply agreement.”

Shaw said his party is fed up with New Zealand First not sticking to the spirit of an agreement.

“I would say that in recent times we have learned that it’s the letter of the agreement, rather than the spirit of the agreement, that’s what counts when it comes to New Zealand First.

“So when it comes to the repeal of the party-hopping bill I would say that we have observed exactly the letter of our agreement.”

So is he just playing the same political games as Peters?

“Well I learn from the master,” Shaw fired back.

Both parties are fighting for their political lives. Greens are polling just over the threshold, NZ First well under. Having spats like this may raise their profiles but it probably won’t raise their chances of surviving the election.

Labour won’t do a deal with ‘celebrity’ Green

Labour refusing to help Green candidate Chloe Swarbrick in Auckland Central could be grim for NZ First, who need to have a deal to have any chance in Northland.

Now Niki Kaye has withdrawn from contention in the Auckland Central electorate it is up for grabs. National haven’t named a replacement candidate yet, but leaving the seat open to discussion about whether Labour and Greens will do some sort of a deal. If Swarbrick wins the seat her party won’t have to make the 5% threshold to get back into Parliament, but Labour are openly unwilling to help.

RNZ: Labour rules out deal with Greens in Nikki Kaye’s seat

Labour is adamant it won’t be doing a deal with the Greens in the Auckland Central electorate.

Labour Party’s candidate Helen White will be going up against Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick, who is campaigning for both the party and electorate vote.

White said National won the seat in 2017 by just 1500 votes over Labour.

“The vote was so close for Labour, it just isn’t in the same league with regard to the gap that the Greens would have to move,” she said.

Given that, White said she was sizing up National as her main opponent in the seat.

The Greens are polling at about five or six percent, right on the threshold for getting back into parliament.

But regardless of that, White said she wouldn’t be making way for Swarbrick in Auckland Central.

“I actually think the Greens will be fine, they’ve got a solid base and obviously Chlöe is way up on that list, so people will firmly expect to see Chlöe in parliament.”

Asked what she would say to people who pointed out Swarbrick’s higher profile and name recognition, White said: “I’d ask them whether they’re looking for a celebrity or someone to do this job very seriously.”

At a campaign event in Auckland last night, Labour’s national campaign manager Hayden Munro told the crowd the party could not afford to split the progressive vote in the seat.

But if Labour aren’t going to help Swarbrick, or vice versa as some arrogant Labour supporters have insisted should happen, the left wing vote will be split between White and Swarbrick.

Labour will be very keen to take Auckland Central back now Kaye is out of the picture, but as long as the Greens get 5% or more (as I think is likely) then who wins Auckland Central won’t matter, as the party vote is what matters.

Labour refusing to do a deal in Auckland Central has greater implications for NZ First, who are polling well under the threshold.

If Labour don’t do a deal to help Swarbrick then they can’t credibly do a deal to help Shane Jones in Northland. And if Jones loses there (he has never won an electorate), and if NZ First fail to make 5%, they are out of Parliament.

And the old dog Winston Peters seems to have lost his political teeth.

Stuff – Winston Peters: old dog, same tricks but no bite

The NZ First leader is fighting for survival, afraid that he’s about to be tossed out of the toxic swamp of Parliament.

And as his time in the Beehive peters out, he shows no sign of changing. But the old dog’s teeth are no longer sharp.

As he awaits the outcome of a Serious Fraud Office investigation following revelations about the secretive NZ First Foundation, Peters has watched his party’s polling dwindle to around 2 per cent.

He’s been here before. But while pundits were previously reluctant to write off Peters, his tricks just now seem as old and tired as Lazarus himself.

His campaign launch last weekend failed to showcase any new ideas.

No-one buys the schtick of baiting his Government partners any more. In a sense, he’s the victim of his own chaotic tactics. Self-preservation kept him in the Labour-NZF-Greens alliance – destabilising a leader as popular as Ardern would almost certainly have finished him.

But having gone the distance with the Greens, attacking them to kick off a campaign is just meaningless political rhetoric.

His other stock tactic of distraction also failed him last week.

Facing scrutiny about a taxpayer-funded trip to Antarctica for two wealthy mates, Peters cooked up a story about who’d leaked his private pension details.

It was the latest half-cocked claim in a saga that has already cost him $320,000 in High Court costs. He’s got a long history of making unproven allegations under the shelter of parliamentary privilege, while those he accused have no way to defend themselves.

Peters can only win if voters see only his crafted image and ignore the reality of who he really is.

But once the tricks become obvious – when the threadbare curtain concealing him is pulled back – the show man can no longer pass himself off as the Wizard of Oz.

Peters is looking jaded and out of ideas.

His stymieing of a $100m rescue package for Southland, as the region reels from the likely closure of the Tiwai smelter, was cruelly cynical.

Peters was in Southland on Friday making ludicrous suggestions that management or employees buy the smelter, as there is not chance of a Government buyout he had previously suggested.

So Peters was pushing policy that he has no support for from other parties, so has no chance of succeeding with. Voters are likely to see through his promises, which are as lacking in credibility as his accusations in Parliament.

Jones also looks like he has lost already. He must have got the message from Labour that they aren’t going to help him in Northland.

Peters versus everyone he hasn’t already lost in court against

Winston Peters already seemed tetchier than usual over the weekend and since. Perhaps it was his recent operation that unsettled him, or the smaller than usual attendance at his campaign launch speech on Sunday, or the awarding of $320K costs against him on Friday, or the exposure of him employing the services of misinformation hit men from the UK after first denying it, or the poor poll results for NZ First, or staring down the barrel of being dumped from Parliament again.

Maybe all of that.

And it’s likely the constant digging at him by David Seymour has worn thin, because that’s who he launched an attack on under the protection of Parliamentary privilege yesterday.

Here is the court case he lost: PETERS v BENNETT & ORS [2020] NZHC 761 [20 April 2020]

Lawyer Graeme Edgeler thinks that Peters had a legitimate grievance about his overpayment of his super (despite the obvious question about how Peters failed to fill in a form properly and failed to notice an overpayment for years), but he points out that if Peters was really concerned about fixing the ‘no surprises’ procedure rather than political utu there was a far cheaper and more effective way of dealing with it:

There is another option, of course: the no surprises principle isn’t “law” – it’s simply stated in the Cabinet Manual, which Cabinet could change. Peters is the deputy prime minister, and a member of Cabinet: and as he didn’t have success in the Courts in vindicating his rights, he could push for it to be changed for the rest of us. That wouldn’t fix the breach of privacy that occurred in his case, but it would hopefully make similar breaches less likely in the future.

But Peters is a very political animal and having already launched attacks on partner parties Greens and Labour already this week, decided to attack ACT and National by making serious accusations – but he was only prepared to do this under parliamentary privilege, not in public without legal protection.

In General Debate yesterday:

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister): Today, I am going to outline the truth about the leak of my superannuation. There have been news reports about the case. The matter is not sub judice. But a source totally connected to both the ACT Party and the National Party has revealed that the leak was one Rachel Morton.

Morton heard about the case because she was present when former Minister Anne Tolley told her ministerial colleague Paula Bennett about it—not outside by the lifts, but in a ministerial office. Ms Morton then, thinking it would be kept in confidence, told ACT Party leader, David Seymour, but, desperate for any sort of attention, Mr Seymour contacted Jordan Williams of the wage subsidy – receiving taxpayer union fame. Williams—no stranger to dirty politics—told John Bishop, father of National MP Chris Bishop, and the details were then leaked to Newsroom’s Tim Murphy.

Williams also told another dirty politics practitioner, National Party pollster David Farrar. Farrar tried to shut it down, seeing the risk it exposed to the National Party, but then went along anyway, although he later tried to steer the story away from National’s guilt, which is its usual modus operandi.

But Newshub wanted to control the story. Barry Soper and Newshub knew more about the story than Tim Murphy, who nevertheless tweeted about—and I quote him—”the mother of all scandals” about to break a day before the story leaked publicly. Ms Morton used to work for Newshub and Newstalk ZB. Newshub was trying its best to protect her after David Seymour tried to get the story leaked through channels not connected with Morton. Three Newshub journalists—Jenna Lynch, Lloyd Burr, and Patrick Gower—looked collectively stunned when they were told that they had burnt Ms Morton as a source. They knew they’d been tumbled.

When this was put to the Newshub reporters that it would also expose National and Jordan Williams’ dealings with Tim Murphy, one of the Newshub journalists paused and said that National were “distancing themselves” from the story, but it was an ACT-inspired hit job to damage me politically, in collaboration with a senior National Party staffer, Rachel Morton, who was the source of the leak and the source that led to Jordan Williams weaponising the information during the election campaign. Every last one of them—Morton, Seymour, Williams, Bishop, Murphy, Farrar—played dirty politics to breach my inalienable right and the inalienable right of every New Zealander to privacy.

My source also revealed that National Party members joked amongst themselves about the leak, but realised they couldn’t do anything with the “no-surprises disclosure”—their risk was too high. That, of course, didn’t prevent Ms Tolley from telling her sister, nor did it prevent 42 people being made aware of my super case. All it took was for that private information to fall into the hands of David Seymour, who craved media attention but couldn’t claim the limelight, because that would have placed a spotlight on Rachel Morton, his source.

This is what dirty politics looks like.

That’s why I have brought this case on principle, at a huge cost—the principle of privacy.

The collusion between the National Party, ACT, and these grubby figures in and around politics is what turns people off politics. The characters in the story of my super leak viewed dirty politics as their religion, but it’s the worship of jackals by jackasses.

What I now know, and I didn’t know it as I went to court, is that during my court case, there were witnesses who gave evidence who knew the truth, even as they were not speaking it, and journalists—but not Barry Soper—who sat in the court who knew the truth, but printed a tissue of lies. That I now know. Shame on them, but now they’ve been exposed for what they truly are.

Maybe Mr Seymour could tell the precise circumstances in which he was told this information. Will he tell them, or will I have to? This has been a disgrace, and Mr Seymour is now outed.

I have got the witness. I never had it until the court. The judge said to me, “But you must tell me who did it.”, as though—with all their resources—one man against them, paying for his own costs, could be expected to do that.

Mr Seymour, I am resolved that this is day one of the truth fightback, and he is going to be in my line.

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): I seek leave to make a personal explanation.SPEAKER: The member has sought leave to make a personal explanation. Is there any objection? Yes, there is.

So Seymour was blocked from responding directly to the allegations.

“This is what dirty politics looks like” is somewhat ironic from Peters.

Seymour has since strongly denied doing what has been accused. Morton has strongly denied, Farrar has strongly denied.

Peters says this won’t go to court until after the election. So he is putting all this out there, under protection, obviously aimed at doing as much political damage as he can as we approach the election.

He filed his original court action a day before the last election, just before going into negotiations with National ‘in good faith’.

Faith in a miracle may be all Peters has to go on this campaign. He seems to have jumped the shark. Unless he fronts up with evidence soon his claims can be dismissed as dirty campaigning.

Greens and NZ First clash

NZ First and the Greens clashed yesterday, indicating the nearing of the election campaign and reflecting the precarious position of both parties in the polls. Both are fighting for survival in Parliament.

After spending two years trying to show they can work productively together in Government, they are now desperate to differentiate from each other and from Labour.

Winston Peters is in full on attack mode against all parties and the media and anyone he doesn’t think will vote NZ First. In a speech yesterday morning he launched into the Greens, and James Shaw responded.

RNZ: ‘Gloves are off’ for NZ First and Greens leaders in unofficial election campaign

The unofficial campaign has well and truly kicked off with the party leaders taking the gloves off and going at each other at Parliament today.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw has described New Zealand First as a force of chaos, while Winston Peters has warned any future Labour-Greens government would be a nightmare.

It was Peters who started the war of words at a breakfast speech in Wellington this morning.

“If you want to take out some insurance in this campaign to ensure you don’t get the nightmare government I know you’re going to get, then I suggest you party vote New Zealand First,” he said.

Shaw was happy to respond.

“Well, I think that the nightmare that he’s got is that he’s not going to be back in Parliament.”

Shaw is known to be quite measured when New Zealand First pulls the pin on policies or puts a spanner in the works, but with the campaign unofficially under way he’s ramping up his own rhetoric.

“My experience of working with New Zealand First as a party in government is that rather than a force of moderation, they’re a force of chaos,” he said.

Tensions through the term are simply being allowed to come out publicly now they don’t have to worry about keeping the Government together.

In the last year or so alone, New Zealand First has put the brakes or the kaibosh on a number of Green Party policies.

New Zealand First has also been obstructive when it comes to cameras on fishing boats and outright blocked the capital gains tax.

Despite all that, Shaw said it was not New Zealand First’s leader he had an issue with, but its wider organisation.

He said things had “always been polite and it’s always been professional,” between the two, but not so much with the wider party and staff.

Asked if Peters’ staff deliberately interfered after a deal has been done between the leaders, Shaw was very clear.

“There’s definitely interference, yes that’s right, and it’s not always clear where it’s coming from.”

And it’s not just the Greens Peters is attacking. The current popularity of Labour is a problem for him.

Peters used his speech this morning to not only boast about the policies his party had stopped, but also to warn about the so-called “stupid ideas” the Greens and Labour still have.

“If you think a red-green government is safe for you then you’re in cloud cuckoo land. They know everything about how to spend your money, and not one idea about how to make some.

“They say they want to get close to you, they’re right, so they can put their hand down the side of your body and into your wallet.”

He said the last three years had been a headache due to the ministers sitting at the Cabinet table alongside him.

“I’ve never had three years so difficult, trying to manage circumstances when you’re surrounded by plain inexperience.”

Peters was happy to repeat the comments on his way into Question Time today, saying he stood by everything he said to the business audience.

Jacinda Ardern is trying to stay above the fray.

“Look, I put it down to an election period. You can also find many comments from the deputy prime minister talking about what we’ve managed to achieve as a government, which I’ve got the sense he’s been proud of,” she said.

All Ardern needs to do is as little as possible apart from stay out of trouble.

It could be an interesting campaign, especially if they have leaders’ debates with all party leaders.

Court orders Winston Peters to pay $320 thousand costs

A judge has ordered Winston Peters to pay about $320 thousand in costs after failing to prove public servants and MPs leaked his super overpayment information.

This is only about a third of the $1 million costs the Crown says it has cost to defend Paula Bennett (Minister for State Services at the time), Anne Tolley (Minister of Social Welfare at the time,) Peter Hughes (State Services Commissioner,), Brendan Boyle (chief executive of the MSD) and the Attorney General on behalf of the  Ministry of Social Development.

Peters’ claim against all defendants failed as he was not able to establish that they were responsible for the disclosure of the payment to media, and he conceded that  neither Ms Bennett nor Ms Tolley were directly responsible for the disclosure.

Legal actions can be horrendously expensive, and taking action against five different defendants escalates the costs.

A fundamental of our legal system is that those who fail in civil legal proceedings are required to pay at least some costs.

And this doesn’t account for the costs Peters incurred himself.  That could be substantial, but he was represented by his friend Brian Henry.

Peters says he will appeal the April ruling ruling. If he fails with that he will incur further costs.

The judgment on his case says:

Mr Peters says that the public disclosure of the payment irregularity was a breach of his right to privacy. He says the defendants had a duty to keep the details of the payment irregularity confidential. In disclosing the payment irregularity to others Mr Peters says the defendants breached that duty. He seeks declaratory relief and damages.

Mr Peter’s private information about the payment irregularity should not have been disclosed to the media. The deliberate disclosure of that private information to the media sources caused Mr Peters harm and distress, but ultimately it was mitigated by the actions he took. In the circumstances, if Mr Peters could have identified who disclosed his private information to the media then damages in the region of $75,000 to $100,000 in total might have been appropriate. This was a deliberate breach of his privacy with the intention of publicly embarrassing him and causing him harm.

Summary/result

Mr Peters had a reasonable expectation that the details of the payment irregularity would be kept private and not disclosed to parties who did not have a genuine need to know about it or a proper interest in knowing about it. In particular, he had a reasonable expectation that the details of the payment irregularity would not be disclosed to the media.

The deliberate disclosure of the details of the payment irregularity to the media would be regarded as highly offensive to an objective reasonable person.

Mr Peter’s claim against all defendants fails as he is not able to establish that they were responsible for the disclosure of the payment irregularity to the media. He has conceded that neither Ms Bennett nor Ms Tolley were directly responsible for the disclosure to the media. Further, with the exception of the very general, unguarded comment by Ms Tolley to her sister, the disclosures by the first and third defendants were for a proper purpose or otherwise to persons with a genuine interest in knowing.

The disclosure by the fifth defendant to the SSC and by both the second and fifth defendants to their Ministers were, in the particular circumstances of this case, for a proper purpose and the Ministers had a genuine interest in knowing the details of the payment irregularity.

The plaintiff is unable to rely on the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in this case to make out a claim against any of the defendants, including the fourth defendant.

The plaintiff’s claims for damages and declarations are dismissed.

Costs were reserved and have since been decided ‘on the papers’.

NZ Herald: Winston Peters to pay $320,000 over failed superannuation leak privacy court case

In a judgment by Justice Geoffrey Venning last Friday, and obtained by the Herald today, costs of nearly $320,000 were awarded against the Deputy Prime Minister.

The new judgment orders Peters to pay Bennett and Tolley $101,897.26 – while a total of $215,921.11 is to be paid to the remaining defendants. All of the money will be paid to the Crown, which funded the defence for all five defendants.

Henry had argued no costs should be awarded because the defendants were funded by the Crown and the proceedings involved a matter of public interest.

The Crown costs for fighting the case, in defence of Bennett, Tolley, Boyle, Hughes and MSD, were estimated to total some $1m.

“The fact that all defendants are funded by the Crown is of itself not a relevant consideration in relation to the issue of costs in this particular case,” Justice Venning said.

Justice Venning added there was no basis for the allegations the public servants were “motivated by the desire to spread salacious gossip, nor for any other allegations of bad faith”.

“While the Court did find there was an error within the Ministry in relation to the MSD form in question, as the Court noted, Mr Peters also had to bear some responsibility for the error in the way the form was completed.”

The judgment also revealed that on September 19 last year the Crown defendants made an offer inviting Peters to discontinue his claim against Hughes and Boyle.

“The failure to accept the offer in the Crown letter on that aspect of the claim supports a partial award of increased costs,” Justice Venning said.

“Mr Peters pursued allegations of bad faith against public officials in the public forum of the Court proceedings. Such allegations should not have been made without a proper basis. He also failed to accept a reasonable offer for resolution of part of the proceedings. There should be a cost consequence.”

But this is not the end of the matter.

Peters, meanwhile, has said he is appealing Justice Venning’s April decision to the Court of Appeal.

He has said the judgment is wrong, while the judge didn’t draw the right inferences from the facts it found.

Peters was persisting with the case not just for himself but for all people who’ve had their privacy breached, he said.

So at this stage he isn’t appealing the costs, he is appealing the original decision.

This is likely to take some time and potentially could get very expensive for Peters.

So far it hasn’t been a good year for Peters, with both the case and costs judgments going against him, the SFO is investigating the New Zealand First Foundation over party handling of donations, and NZ First is doing poorly in polls and may struggle to survive the election.

The April judgment: PETERS v BENNETT & ORS [2020] NZHC 761 [20 April 2020]

NZ First campaign launch back to the past

Winston Peters was cheered and adored as he always is at the NZ First congress campaign launch yesterday, but the campaign slogan ‘Back the Future’  may be more appropriately called ‘back to the past’.

Not only has Peters relaunched old NZ First policy on immigration, pledging to clamp down on numbers like they did last election, it will be noticed that Peters didn’t do much about it during this term, with immigration levels not changing a lot until they were stopped altogether by the Covid pandemic.

This time Peters says a ‘bottom line’ is for a NZ First MP to be Minister of Immigration.

RNZ: NZ First’s campaign promises old and rehashed policies

New Zealand First is sticking to the tried and true as it fights for its survival at this year’s election.

The new campaign slogan is ‘Back Your Future’, which screamed more ‘Back to the Future’ when party leader Winston Peters took to the stage to the same theme songs and announced the same policies from years gone by.

More than 250 members and those interested in catching a glimpse of Peters in full campaign mode packed into the Highbrook Convention Centre in Auckland yesterday afternoon.

But there was nothing new about what Peters was promising – even his suit was from his younger days, after weight loss following recent surgery.

Immigration and frontline police were his two big policy announcements – one is a rehash from the last election and the other has been promised and delivered on twice before.

The immigration reset is that no more than 15,000 people come into New Zealand each year – and that they’re all highly-skilled workers.

Peters said one of his MPs must be immigration minister for that to happen.

It’s a bottom line.

Peters does bottom lines like they’re going out of fashion during election campaigns, but the bottom falls out of them once elected.

“Because we were bringing (immigration) down – but not nearly fast enough – because we weren’t in charge. That’s why we want the immigration portfolio.”

Peters said the definition of highly-skilled will change, but he’s light on detail.

“We plan to create a much smarter one… one that doesn’t have the OECD saying that your policies are a failure, (and) you’re bringing in low-skilled workers.”

He warned increasing unemployment as a result of Covid-19 and the economic slump will bring higher crime rates, and so Peters also promised another 1000 frontline police officers in three years, if re-elected.

That’s one pledge from the last campaign that was actually done. I’m not sure why he sees the need for another big boost.

Senior MP Tracey Martin also announced a universal family benefit.

It would mean all families in New Zealand, with children under 16, would be provided a weekly allowance, no matter their income.

That policy is a return to the old too.

”Well the counter of that is you have to be patient and wait for the rest of the campaign,” Peters said.

”I didn’t come here to announce the whole policy in one day. Be patient and you’ll hear some explosive new ideas.”

On Q&A he was asked why there were no policies on the NZ First website. Peters said that he knew what they were and they would be announced.  It does say on the website:

At the core of New Zealand First’s policies are our “Fifteen Fundamental Principles”, which emphasise accountable and transparent government, common-sense social and economic policy, and the placing of the interests of New Zealand, and New Zealanders, at the forefront of Government decision-making.

But even they don’t seem to be available on their website.

The full Q+A interview here: Winston Peters denies Ihumātao deal in fiery exchange on Q+A

Mr Peters appeared on Q+A this morning in a heated interview with host Jack Tame, where he was asked about Ihumātao, a trans-Tasman bubble, coalition partners, cameras on fishing boats, his party’s policies, and stimulating the economy.

Mr Peters listed previous policies and accomplishments, such as the reinvigoration of KiwiRail and the billion trees promise, as well as the stopping of light rail to Auckland Airport.

NZ First also wants to remove an MP’s personal vote on conscience issues and replace it with a binding referendum.

“We are the only green party, in reality, in this Parliament because we put flesh around our dreams not just talk. That’s what we’ve done,” he said.

Yeah, right.

It was classic combative Peters but looking same old and backwards, with trademark indignation when asked things he didn’t want to answer.

It was similar on an interview on RNZ this morning, more Peters battling against the media and the world.

More from 1 News:  Winston Peters outlines NZ First achievements opposing ‘woke pixie dust’ in Government, announces election promises

“We have opposed woke pixie dust,” he said of his party holding its Coalition partners to account.

“Whilst the rest have been politically correct, we’ve set out to correct politics.”

Voters will judge that in a couple of months.

So far it’s just back to the past from Peters, and he hasn’t yet come up with anything that stands NZ First out from past campaigns.

What NZ First may have to rely on to survive is for Peters to jump on a campaign issue and hope the media gives him some saturation  coverage, as has happened in past campaigns.  But for NZ First supporters it could be like hoping for a lotto win.

Collins: no reason for National to change ‘no deal’ with NZ First

Some time ago the National caucus decided they would rule out doing a coalition deal with NZ First after the election.  Todd Muller had indicated that hadn’t changed under his leadership, and now Judith Collins has done the same.

NZ First are launching their election campaign this weekend, but this may dampen their enthusiasm as it reduces their leverage as they can’t play Labour versus National.

Stuff:  Judith Collins says post-election deal with NZ First ‘not likely’

Speaking to media after putting up the billboards, she said had seen Winston Peters on Saturday morning and had “wished him well – but actually I’d rather we just won”.

She said it was “not likely” they would be in government together: “I don’t know if his party’s going to be there after the election”.

“It’s really important to understand the caucus has said that they don’t want to do a deal with Winston Peters. There is no reason that I know that we are going to change that.

“My view is I’m just not worried about him, or his party vote. I’m focused on the National Party vote.”

As that is a politician speaking it doesn’t rule out a deal categorically, but if Collins reneges on this she should be hammered.

Talking of hammering, that’s what has been happening to NZ First in polls, with recent polls putting Peters’ party around 1%.

In a ‘preferred Prime Minister’ poll this week David Seymour and Chloe Swarbrick polled higher than Peters. Winston is going to pull something out of the hat this campaign if he is going to save his party.

The poll was commissioned by The Project with Yabble, and the 500 respondents were asked: Thinking about all current MPs of any party, which one would you personally prefer to be Prime Minister?  The poll was conducted on July 15 and it has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. – Newshub

Government in Southland with message of scant hope, no plan after smelter closure

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones and a bunch Labour and NZ First MPs fronted up in Southland yesterday to try to address the planned closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, after Robertson had signalled on Tuesday the visit was not to save the smelter.

From a distance Winston Peters didn’t help with unified commiserations, suggesting that the Government buy the smelter. Peters has a reputation for being an astute reader of public sentiment in election campaigns, but I’m not sure Southlanders will buy that.

Stuff: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson arrive in Invercargill amidst smelter closure

Senior Government ministers have arrived in Invercargill to talk with Southland leaders in regards to the closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson landed at Invercargill Airport on Wednesday night.

When asked, after she got off the plane, if she was in Southland to save the smelter, she said: “you’ll probably have a chance to see us tomorrow when we’ve got our stand up”.

Stuff asked Grant Robertson what he would say to Southland business leaders, he replied: “It’s a good opportunity for us to hear from all of the business leaders we’re seeing, and various others, and get a feel for the situation, and then we’ll have some stuff to say to you after that”.

Robertson signalled on Tuesday the visit was not to save the smelter.

A spokesperson from Robertson’s office said the plant was not closing until August next year, which meant there was already some transition time.

So that wasn’t a positive start for the visit. And coverage was dominated by Peters despite him not being there.

ODT:  Ardern distances herself from Peters’ smelter buy-out comments

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is distancing herself from the position of her Deputy, Winston Peters, over comments he made about the Tiwai Point smelter.

In an op-ed for the New Zealand Herald, Peters suggested that the Government should step in and save the Southland smelter, currently owned by Rio Tinto.

“A buy-out would give those who have the most stake in the success of the smelter, the people of Southland, the opportunity to directly benefit from owning and managing it,” he said.

But, speaking to reporters in Southland this morning, Ardern distanced herself – and in effect the Government – from Peters’ comments.

Asked specifically about what she thought of the Deputy Prime Minister’s column, Ardern replied that she had seen the position of “the leader of New Zealand First”.

In other words, Ardern was making it clear that Peters’ comments were made in his capacity as a party leader and not as a Government spokesman.

The Prime Minister added that the Government stepping in, in the way suggested by Peters, “wasn’t the nature of the conversation that was had with leaders here [in Southland] today”.

She said any talks about a bailout were not part of the conversation today either.
“For us, it was all about what happens next.”

She mentioned the fact a “transition” is needed in Southland, in terms of the jobs in the region.

With both Ardern and Robertson talking of ‘transition’ with no sign of an attempt to rescue the smelter it looks like a done deal.

There was never any chance the Government would buy the smelter. Peters will know that, he is just playing to Southland voters, but they are likely to see through him.

The Government deputation looked grim (see the ODT video).

Ardern said this morning that the Government has long had plans to help develop new economic opportunities in Southland.

She said the question now is: “How do we expedite those”.

One of the ways she suggested this could occur was through initiatives such as: R&D for food production, aquaculture, data centres and work on New Zealand’s Space agency.

But she said: “We are all in agreement that a transition [in Southland] is needed”.

So it looks like they went with no plan and nothing new to offer.

The  E tū union is affiliated to the Labour Party and even they look like they have given up on the smelter and downstream jobs and businesses that are a huge part of the Southland economy.

Stuff: Tiwai workers ‘have more clarity’ after meeting with PM

Tiwai employee and E tū union delegate Cliff Dobbie says the Government is doing all it can to get Southland going as the aluminium smelter prepares to wind down operations.

Dobbie felt he had a clearer picture of future options for his crew after meeting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Finance Minister Grant Robertson at the E tū office in Invercargill on Thursday.

While he is nearing retirement himself, Dobbie said he was worried about future income for his crew members – many of whom were under the age of 40.

But after the informal meeting over tea and biscuits, he was fairly confident they would be looked after.

“I feel a lot clearer. They didn’t beat about the bush,” Dobbie said.

E tū organiser Anna Huffstutler said the meeting focused on what a just transition would look like and who needed to be sitting around the table for those discussions.

“It’s about bringing the community and stakeholders together and creating a roadmap,” Huffstutler said.

“Government is fully supportive of that.”

Timelines for these plans would be determined by negotiations between Meridian and Rio Tinto around how the smelter will be shut down, she said.

E tū organiser Mike Kirkword said it was too early to nail down where and how Tiwai staff would be absorbed into the Southland economy.

So no fight, no hope, no plan, just acquiescence and vague platitudes from the Government and despite the closure being signalled for years.

 

 

 

Shane Jones signals NZ First attack on immigration

It’s not a surprise to see NZ First target immigration coming in to an election campaign. NZ First had planned to launch their campaign this weekend, but that has been delayed a weekafter what seemed like urgent but minor surgery this week for Winston Peters – see Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters takes medical leave (Peters also had hospital treatment and a week off work last year).

Shane Jones was interviewed on The Nation, but ‘hinted’ at tough immigration policy, presumably leving the big announcements to Peters once he is back on deck.

Newshub: Shane Jones hints at controversial New Zealand First immigration policies despite COVID-19 border closure

Speaking to Newshub Nation on Saturday, Jones said he believes employers have “a duty” to train New Zealand workers before immigrants.

He promised New Zealand First does not intend to make it easy for language schools while acknowledging the border closure will make their business difficult regardless.

“We’ve had the COVID experience – the borders have closed and it’s hard to see when and how they will open,” he said.

“I can say New Zealand First has no agenda of making it easy for language schools which have brought migrants into New Zealand with low skill, low values and had a very disruptive and negative impact on our labour market.”

Host Simon Shepard said the border closure has removed the immigration debate from the election conversation – a claim which Jones debated.

“I’ve every confidence our leader, our Caucus and our party will have very profound things to say about immigration,” he said.

“Just watch this space – we will have sensible things to say about immigration and it may come to pass that not everyone will enjoy what we have to say,” he continued.

“We’ve got to speak about the fact that in our population of five million we cannot rely on unfettered immigration at a time when our infrastructure is creaking.”

His comments follow a February interview with Newshub Nation where Jones blasted the Government’s immigration policy, saying too many people “from New Delhi” are being allowed to settle in New Zealand.

“I think the number of students that have come from India have ruined many of those institutions,” he said about academic institutions.

Jones defended his comments despite the Prime Minister calling them “loose and wrong”.

NZ First are in for a tough battle this election, with recent poll results around 2%.

In their favour is the disproportionate amount of free publicity the media are likely to give them.

1 News: Battle for Northland seat between Matt King and Shane Jones shaping up as a must win for NZ First

Its candidate Shane Jones is trying to snatch the seat off National MP Matt King in a bid to help keep the Winston Peters-led party in Parliament.

But National’s Matt King says it’ll take more than political stunts to win the seat.

“They won’t be fooled by the game these guys are playing,” he told 1 NEWS.

The MP alleges that the Provincial Growth Fund is being used to curry favour, with Northland securing nearly $600 million.

However, Mr Jones says it’s not Northland “feeling the love”.

“All the provinces have felt the provincial love and that’s because we were elected to drive provincial development.”

PGP handouts have been somewhat overshadowed by much bigger Covid subsidies and handouts, and some PGP funds have been shifted tor Covid recovery.

List MP Willow-Jean Prime is standing for Labour again.

Labour have so far given no indication they will help NZ First in Northland. If they stick to this approach it will be difficult for Jones, who has never won an electorate.

Like Peters, Jones is a boundary pushing attention seeker.

Newshub: Shane Jones stops putting up billboards in Kerikeri after council admits error in allowing it

National MP Matt King, the current MP for Northland, accused his New Zealand First opponent earlier this week of putting up “illegal” election advertising in Kerikeri.

King argued the ‘Jones for Jobs’ billboards broke the Electoral Commission’s rules that election hoardings cannot be put up until July 18.

The Electoral Commission had a different take, explaining how it’s fine for hoardings to be up before July 18 if the local council allows it.

“Election advertising may be published at any time, except on election day. This means election hoardings can be put up at any time, subject to the rules the local council has in place.”

Newshub went to the Far North District Council – the authority overseeing the town of Kerikeri – and CEO Shaun Clarke said there were no rules against it.

“There are no active bylaws or policies which would restrict early hoardings on private land in the Far North District.”

But Clarke has contacted Newshub to say he got it wrong and that there is a rule stating election signs can be erected “no sooner than 8 weeks prior to, and then removed no later than the close of day before polling day”.

Those rules are similar to most if not all local bodies for election hoardings. The CEO should have known that.

Otago University Law Professor Andrew Geddis confirmed there is no nationwide law to say you can only put up election billboards in a specified period before the election.

Outside of that period it’s up to local councils.

“If the CEO doesn’t know his own bylaws, that’s a worry,” Geddis said.

I hope it was only ignorance of his own bylaws.

Jones should have also been well aware of the by laws, he’s been a politician for a long time and has contested several electorates, including Northland in 2008. He unsuccessfully contested Whangerei in 2017, coming third, over ten thousand votes behind current MP Shane Reti.

Peters won Northland in a by-election in 2015 when Labour told their voters to support him (and most did), but lost to King inn the 2017 general election to King by 1,389 votes.