The battle for NZ First Deputy

NZ First announced:

At a meeting of the New Zealand First caucus this morning, was elected Deputy-Leader of the Parliamentary team.

Ms Martin entered Parliament at the 2011 General Election as second on the List behind Rt Hon Winston Peters.

Mr Peters says he is pleased with the caucus decision as Ms Martin has been an effective and energetic MP.

Tracey has been involved with New Zealand First since its inception in 1993.

Tracey is a good solid choice. I predicted her election at the beginning of the year. She is liked and respected by many MPs across the House, and has been a constructive select committee member.

However despite there being only one candidate when it came to the formal vote, it seems there has been intense lobbying over the last year for this position. I received the e-mail below from a NZ First source:

The NZ First deputy leadership is a major defeat for Winston.

Winston originally wanted Andrew Williams as his deputy but Williams was unpalatable to the rest of the caucus so he switched his support to Denis O’Rourke. However, Denis backed Tracey and Winston was forced to put Barbara Stewart up at the last minute.

Tracey’s backers:
Richard Prosser
Denis O’Rourke
Asenati Lole-Taylor

Andrew is furious and there are rumours inside NZ First that he might leave the party before the election. Even if he doesn’t, Tracey Martin’s backers in the organization will ensure he is given a very low ranking. 

Another factor will be MPs’ private reservations about Winston’s handling of the Brendan Horan scandal which saw them denied a say. 

If Stewart had been made Deputy, then Winston wanted Andrew Williams to become Whip, according to the source.

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