Can NZ First survive without Winston

May 24th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins at Stuff reports:

Anyone who kids themselves that there is life after Winston Peters for NZ First only had to watch the party floundering in the absence of its leader this week.

Frantically trying to head off an attack by their former colleague, expunged NZ Firster Brendan Horan, Peters’ front bench achieved the seemingly impossible feat of making Horan look good by comparison.

They were clueless in the face of Horan’s determination to extract utu from his former party by tabling documents he claimed showed improper use of the taxpayer funded leader’s fund. …

With its leader knocking 70, NZ First is a clock that has been slowly winding down since the 1996 election delivered Peters the balance of power.

The core team around Peters back then was a new generation of swaggering and smart young Maori MPs who might have ensured the party’s survival. Peters’ greatest flaw as a politician has been his inability to hold on to any of them or, for that matter, the MPs who followed.

Since the original caucus bustup back in 1997, he has surrounded himself with increasingly eccentric and obscure MPs to fill the seats vacated by the older and wiser heads he managed to burn off over the years. Of his current caucus, only one – the nanna-like Barbara Stewart – is carried over from the 2005-2008 parliamentary term (NZ First spent a term out of Parliament).

Since the party’s return in 2011, Parliament has been collectively holding its breath waiting for the current team to implode given some of the more eccentric selections – like former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams, notorious for urinating in a public place.

The implosion hasn’t happened yet but there have been plenty of flaky moments. Richard Prosser launched a diatribe against Muslims that prompted hundreds of complaints to the NZ First board. The party’s Pasifika MP, Asenati Lole-Taylor, famously asked questions of the police minister in Parliament about blow jobs and has carved out a cult following on Twitter for her bizarre outbursts. Her most recent was to accuse a press gallery journalist of cyber bullying after he referred to her “shooting the messenger”. Lole-Taylor thought he was alleging she had shot an actual parliamentary messenger.

That is so so funny.

The reason the politicians are rubbing their hands in glee, however, is that nastiness on the campaign trail inevitably boomerangs on the politician pushing the button, which is why parties are tripping over themselves to accuse each other of playing in the dirtiest pool.

When Labour leader David Cunliffe told a Rotorua audience that John Key was a liar, for instance, the prime minister’s office was delighted. After the story was moved from the Stuff.co.nz home page because of concerns about a lack of balance, Key’s office complained to Fairfax.

It would have preferred the headline labelling Key a liar to remain online all day if possible. In its view, it did far more damage to Cunliffe than it did to Key.

I agree, it did.

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40 Responses to “Can NZ First survive without Winston”

  1. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    With its leader knocking 70, NZ First is probably going to hit up a heap of seats this year.

    One women told me she bumped into a Winston meeting full of Asians applauding him as he desrcibed anti Asian policies.

    Like she said, what the man can get away with is magic.

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  2. Unity (526 comments) says:

    I’m a little cautious where Tracy Watkins is concerned. She tends to hit on the brief negativity of one-off actions, or misunderstood (by accident or design) statements of the likes of Winston and especially Colin Craig who the media try to protray as a bit loony when the complete opposite is the case.

    Winston and Colin Craig will get votes from disaffected National Party supporters who wouldn’t go anywhere near a possible Labour and Greens potential coalition.

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  3. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (876 comments) says:

    Uncle John Armstrong has written a comedy piece today in NZ Herald that Labour is looking ready to govern. I have severe stomach ache since this morning after reading that. May be old age is catching with the moon man….

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  4. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (876 comments) says:

    “One women told me she bumped into a Winston meeting full of Asians applauding him as he described anti Asian policies.”

    May be the Asians didn’t understand what Winnie was saying in English and applauded out of respect thinking that a old man is singing national anthem….. :-) Just sayin……

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  5. OneTrack (3,020 comments) says:

    unity – “Winston … will get votes from disaffected National Party supporters who wouldn’t go anywhere near a possible Labour and Greens potential coalition.”

    Well they would be bloody stupid then. A vote for Winston is an enabling vote for a green(Red), Labour and manaIP nightmare.

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  6. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    would have preferred the headline labelling Key a liar to remain online all day if possible. In its view, it did far more damage to Cunliffe than it did to Key.

    That depends entirely on which perspective you are looking from. I read it and thought, “jeez they took a long time to work that out”.

    Whatever is put up in the media, the left are going to see it one way and the right another – each claiming success. The results of course won’t be determined until September.

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  7. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    No One Track, a vote for Winston is a vote to make him Sir Winston and co-PM with John Key.

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  8. Manolo (13,571 comments) says:

    Puree comedy.
    NZF is Winston and will disappear with the venal Peters. The sooner, the better.

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  9. bringbackdemocracy (425 comments) says:

    Yesterday’s man singing yesterday’s song.

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  10. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    He has one last encore in him though.

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  11. lolitasbrother (664 comments) says:

    Not worry Farrar,We know that NZ First is gone, we are going to vote Conservative and kick your weak NZ Nat hard

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  12. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (876 comments) says:

    With the crap MMP system, Winnie could be the only route for National to secure a third term unless Cunliffe self destructs….which I am not ruling out….

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  13. lolitasbrother (664 comments) says:

    wait wait Sir Cullen above ,
    Cuntliffe he is self destructng, again and again, thats why such ebullience in the house of commons

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  14. Unity (526 comments) says:

    I desperately want another Party in the mix with National (who are the best of a bad lot) to get binding referenda and racial equality under the law in place as I regard them as the most essential policies for our country – ahead even of the economy, health and education systems etc, such is the damage being wrought upon us all without them. Once they are in place then they can attend to the other essential matters but in the meantime lack of these two policies is undoing anything we are achieving and turning this country into an apartheid State. Consequently my Party vote will go to the Party who has these policies as their bottom line. At the moment only the Conservative Party has them with NZ First just paying lip-service and I have no confidence the latter will stick with them when push comes to shove.

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  15. holysheet (362 comments) says:

    Asenati Lole-Taylor
    If you read his name really fast it reads like arsehole taylor. You know when the experts say we don’t read every letter to get the gist of what is being read.

    About Winston, It aint over till the old pissed fart sings. He’s becoming more and more like Muldoon ever day

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  16. Nukuleka (307 comments) says:

    Asenati Lole-Taylor maybe doesn’t deserve to be ridiculed quite as vehemently as that, given that she came to NZ as a teenager and English is obviously her second language. She certainly comes across as earnest and probably honest.

    The silliest thing about her though is the way she present Pacific Islanders as some type of dumb-shits who are tricked at every corner by the wily whiteys. She was on about this in Parliament the other day when talking about PI families falling prey to loan sharks. As anyone who has lived in the Pacific Islands knows the sharks who feast most upon Pacific Islanders are the Pacific Islanders themselves. In every pacific village there are loan sharks raking in huge amounts of interest on the loans they dole out for funerals, church fundraising etc. And it is the same in NZ.

    PIs are not some kind of innocent lost tribe who are victimised at every opportunity by cunning Europeans. They know very well how to rip off the system as well as anyone does- and it is no surprise that even the kid in the Islands with the most limited knowledge of English knows the meaning of the magic word ‘BENEFIT’ and knows that the ‘BENEFIT’ is the pot of gold that lies at the end of the rainbow known as New Zealand.

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  17. lolitasbrother (664 comments) says:

    Unity above its Conservative , vote now

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  18. Bob (496 comments) says:

    The six members of NZ First apart from Winston are of no use in parliament. Their only use is to provide Winston with votes. Winston is NZ First. He could be provided with six automatic voting machines which would achieve the same result and save taxpayers six parliamentary salaries.

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  19. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    “If you read his name really fast it reads like arsehole taylor.”

    Apart from that being uncalled for she is female.

    She is becoming a legend on Twitter – @asenatitaylor

    Peters looks like he’s losing whatever he had and the media seem to have woken up to it this week. And most of the rest of the NZ First MPs never found it.

    Deputy leader Tracey Martin was notably absent from Parliament on Wednesday and Thursday along with Peters. Leadership was missing in action.

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  20. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    @ Pete George (22,021 comments) says:
    May 24th, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    So everybody that takes a couple of days off from Parliament are headed for the gutter, or does that only apply to everyone BUT National, or of course the Maori party, who National dare not pick on?

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  21. Other_Andy (2,608 comments) says:

    Nukuleka (100 comments) says:

    “Asenati Lole-Taylor maybe doesn’t deserve to be ridiculed quite as vehemently as that, given that she came to NZ as a teenager and English is obviously her second language. ”

    She has no excuse, she has been here for more than 30 years.

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  22. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    That’s over dramatic and inaccurate Judith.

    From what I’ve seen when party leaders are absent as they usually are from Parliament on Thursdays their deputies deputise for them. Peters was away both Wednesday and Thursday and Martin was nowhere to be seen.

    And this was after Tuesday when Peters had made a despicable attack, so I’d have thought some damage limitation was advisable. Instead there was a show of incompetence from the remaining MPs left holding the fort, and they didn’t step up. In fact it looks like they voted the wrong way on Thursday (O’Rourke), opposing Labour’s vote of no confidence in the budget motion.

    Peters dragged NZ First into the gutter this week (more than usual) and there was no one there capable of looking up at the stars.

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  23. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Winston has a terrible fear of being stabbed in the back- thus he has deliberately ensured that his party is devoid of threats to his leadership. Ron Marks is probably the only possible contender in days gone past- actually demonstrated that he wasn’t an empty mouthpiece for Winston’s rhetoric and had some backbone. Until such time as Winston is prepared to release some of the iron-grasp of the party that he created it will face into total obscurity once he does.

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  24. Pete George (23,474 comments) says:

    “thus he has deliberately ensured that his party is devoid of threats to his leadership”

    Is that why Horan was chucked out? I don’t think Peters ever produced any substance to back up his reasons for throwing him out.

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  25. hj (6,915 comments) says:

    Good discussion on Kim Hill re UKIP – except – oh dear! the lady was saying allthe wrong things. She said it was a genuine class thing (immigration ) whereas (according to Kimwho is everyones mind) in Aotearoa it is just racism.
    The comments were oh so ascerbic – left wing elites hate the suggestion that they are ought of touch.

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  26. mara (770 comments) says:

    To some extent, many Asians already here support Winston First’s reluctance to admit more Asians to NZ. They came here for a less crowded, less polluted and less corrupt lives. They know that unrestricted immigration will lead to exactly what they fled from. They are pulling up the drawbridge. Like it or not, it’s human nature. Winnie may be a spent force, but he understands this.

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  27. jaba (2,136 comments) says:

    no

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  28. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    Nukuleka: Quite so…but in my not inconsiderable experience of the Islands the biggest threat to the poor bastards’ limited cash is the churches, not loan sharks.. My mother-in-law is a simple but not unintelligent woman…she believes every single word in the bible is literally true, and she is also kindness personified…and I have known her to allow the grandies to go hungry so her name is not called out on Sunday as having given the least…I have absolutely no time for PI crocodiles in clerical collars…

    And you are so right about “the benefit”…until it’s explained to them they just don’t understand that someone from the gummint will actually PAY them to sit at home and watch TV… AND it’s not only religious TV!!! Paradise…albeit a bit cold…

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  29. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    Nukuleka suggests:

    Asenati Lole-Taylor maybe doesn’t deserve to be ridiculed quite as vehemently as that, given that she came to NZ as a teenager and English is obviously her second language. She certainly comes across as earnest and probably honest.

    No, she comes across as self-entitled and full of hubris. If I’d emigrated to a Pacific Island 30 years ago and still hadn’t mastered the language used in its Parliament, I wouldn’t put myself forward for election to it. To do so if you really don’t understand what the hell is going on shows that you consider yourself above those whom you represent, since you obviously can’t do that if you’re sitting there in ignorance most of the time.

    WineOh says:

    Winston has a terrible fear of being stabbed in the back- thus he has deliberately ensured that his party is devoid of threats to his leadership.

    Spot on. I can recall being the “opening act” for Winston at a meeting in Eastbourne. By pure luck, the MC – not realising where I was from – made some disparaging remarks about Wainuiomata, which allowed me to respond and had the audience roaring at his embarrassment. After the meeting Winston asked me “not to be that good” as he was afraid of looking second best. Since I was in awe of his ability – at the time – to draw a huge crowd desperate to touch the hem of his garment regardless of what he was saying, I was initially puzzled. But it quickly became evident that your thesis is absolutely correct… potential front benchers far more impressive than me (one guy, for instance, had a military service record against which Ron Mark’s pales in comparison, and a far sharper mind) were ranked impossibly low while nonentities were catapulted into Ministerial office.

    Where you’re wrong is in relation to Mark. He is a coward without honour, who showed himself willing to stoop exactly as low as Peters did this week with his slur on Horan, then would neither back it up outside the House, nor apologise in it.

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  30. tvb (4,360 comments) says:

    NZ First candidates get the party nomination as a prize in a pub raffle.

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  31. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    Rex: You may or may not know that SST first tried to push “three strikes” using NZ First as the vehicle…after McVicar and I had been to California in 2007, and I drafted a New Zealand version of the proposed law, we tried to get Mark interested….from memory we got a two line letter in reply saying they didn’t need any help from us, and 3S was already NZ First policy…ACT was much more interested…

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  32. Wayne Mapp (65 comments) says:

    Well, in my view Shane Jones left Parliament for a reason. And it wasn’t to become an Ambassador, though that might be a necessary step on the path. If he was to join NZF in say 2015/2016, he had to leave Labour and Parliament before the 2014 election.

    With Shane, Winston has a viable successor, one who could perhaps sustainably boost NZF to 10 to 15%. And with that percentage could have real power in govts of both right or left. Perhaps even the role of PM for a time. Certainly reduces the power of the Greens on the left and ACT on the right.

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  33. David Garrett (7,110 comments) says:

    Wayne Not Mapp: That’s about the silliest theory I have heard in a while….there would be absolutely nothing – either legal or political – stopping Jones leaving the Labour Party and signing on as an NZ First MP the next day…

    Google “Winston Churchill’s political career” for an excellent example of how it is done…. as far as changing party allegiances goes, it is no different in 1935 under FPP than in 2014 under MMP…and Churchill did it not once but twice…

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  34. Fisiani (1,031 comments) says:

    NO

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  35. altiora (261 comments) says:

    Agree with Mara. It is usually Asian-New Zealanders who are the most disparaging of recent Asian migrants. We need to be very selective. We do not want to become like Sydney has become: an overcrowded cesspit full of groups of economic migrants who live in their own enclaves, never the twain do meet, and have no loyalty to their new “home” apart from income and a passport.

    In particular, I want us to end this “high net worth” migration category. Truly the refuge of the scoundrel.

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  36. lolitasbrother (664 comments) says:

    yes well I voted for NZ First two ticks last time , but not this time.
    I am in Christchurch Central flood and earthquake territory,
    I have decided to be brave and vote for Conservative , we have meeting with him next week.
    We insist seat in the house of Parliament, we can do the lifting .
    Welcome to New Zealand all my Asian friends, properly true to NZ not like Islam dog

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  37. Rex Widerstrom (5,349 comments) says:

    @David Garrett:

    No, I did not know that. But that level of misplaced superiority and arrogance surprises me not the least. When he first applied to be a candidate I was sent to Christchurch to check him out (selection for NZF was more rigorous in those days). I found someone whose imagined capacities in almost every respect exceeded the reality, and recommended against. However a very good front bencher (who never made it to Parliament, alas) liked him solely on the basis that both were ex-military, and I got over-ruled by Winston. Another decision I’d wager he wishes he’d listened to me on.

    As to Wayne (Not) Mapp’s theory, I see it as plausible. Immediately after leaving NZF I was approached by the then President of the Labour Party, Michael Hirschfeld, to consult on coalition negotiations. I agreed. One evening over a glass of wine he asked me if I’d join Labour and stand in 1999. I said I’d want at least a year to pass, preferably longer, lest I looked like a Peter Dunne, willing to sign up to anything just to get into Parliament. (At that time Mike Moore was still a key figure and Clark hadn’t shown her colours, so I was prepared to entertain the idea).

    Jones may well feel he needs a spell away from Parliament so as not to look like an opportunistic waka hopper.

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  38. Shazzadude (526 comments) says:

    Yeah, the waka jumping without an elected mandate, while perfectly allowable within the rules wouldn’t have been all that honourable for someone intending to be a future leader.

    I think Ron Mark has enough of a personal following to keep NZF going; he could quite conceivably win Wairarapa if he stood.

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  39. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Without Winnie who could alter the priority of listings if they get a few seats?

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  40. deadrightkev (440 comments) says:

    Well I think we should all get out the chips and dip during the election campaign this year. There is bound to be some bodies uncovered as desperation sets in (someone tell Arsenati it is not real bodies).

    I am genuinely supporting two parties and two leaders. It will be a hoot to see how they both go. The beauty is that I won’t be lifting a finger.

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