The Herald editorial:
The departure of Winston Peters, a relief as it is, does not mean he is gone entirely from our political life. Thanks to MMP he needs only 5 per cent of the electorate – one voter in 20 – to give New Zealand First their party vote at the coming election and he would return to Parliament. …
I’d say he has a sold base of 2% to 3%. The question is can he con an extra 2% to 3% to vote for him?
After all that has been disclosed this year it seems unthinkable that anyone would still believe him worth their vote but he has had a following that seems impervious to political reasoning. They are older people mostly, on low fixed incomes, unsettled by social change and suspicious of minorities, migrants and trends they fear.
Mr Peters has exploited their fears and suspicions mercilessly, sometimes at the expense of minorities and careless of the damage done to this country’s standing in migrants’ homelands.
Fear is his stock in trade.
To supporting audiences Winston Peters liked to portray himself as lonely hero assailed on all sides by rich and powerful interests that he alone would expose and hold to account.
In recent weeks it is he who has been exposed as a recipient of money, a lot of money, from rich and powerful interests and he has resisted the sort of accountability he demands of others.
I suspect we would be staggered to discover the total amount of big business funding Peters has had.
The National Party has written him out of the script for post election negotiations. Even if he summons enough support to survive, National’s John Key says he will not be acceptable in any ministry he might form. He has destroyed Mr Peters’ political leverage at a stroke.
Indeed. A vote for Winston is a vote for Labour. And almost beyond doubt a vote for Labour will be a vote to keep Winston!
Soon it will be up to his previous voters. Have they seen through him at last? Or have the disclosures of the past few months gone completely over their heads, merely reinforcing his heroic pose for them? Probably the latter. Ever susceptible to his rhetoric, grooming and charm, they might forgive him anything.
But he would return for nothing. The last of his credibility has disappeared. So should he.
The Herald has a right to say this. Winston Peters defamed the Herald. He suggested the e-mail they published was fake. He called on the Editor and Political Editor to resign in disgrace. And all that time he knew the e-mail was real. He knew Owen Glenn had donated money or at the very very least he knew Owen Glenn thought he had donated money.Tags: NZ Herald, Winston First