Winston wants to nationalise EFTPOS!!!

February 8th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Winston rants:

Following the latest EFTPOS outage, New Zealand First is calling on the Reserve Bank to purchase EFTPOS processor, Paymark, which is reportedly on the market.

“Most people don’t realise that the clearing houses behind New Zealand’s electronic banking system are both overseas owned,” says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“In 2013, ANZ sold EFTPOS New Zealand to American giant Verifone for $70m, while overseas owned ANZ, ASB, BNZ and Westpac want to sell off Paymark.

“If the Reserve Bank is to meet a key purpose of its own Act, ‘promoting the maintenance of a sound and efficient financial system’, then Paymark must come into its ownership.

Winston wants the Government to nationalise the EFTPOS system!

One day he may understand the difference between ownership and ability to regulate. But I doubt it.

Winston Peters and Selwyn Clarke

January 30th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Veteran writes at No Minister:

The story so far … Selwyn Clarke, 88 yo ratbag Maori activist and ‘war’ veteran had his War Disability Pension cut off after a warrant was issued for his arrest following his failure to attend Court on charges relating to the illegal occupation by Ngati Kahu of the Kaitaia Airport in September last year.   The occupation saw the abandonment of scheduled passenger service flights as well as medical flights into and out of the Far North.

Clarke claimed his ‘kaupapa’ did not allow him to recognise the authority of the Courts.     He received backing from Winston Peters who called for the reinstatement of his pension saying that the law under which he was arrested was highly questionable.

Let’s deal with that claim first of all.   Peters is supposed to be a lawyer.   He should know the place to test the law is in the Courts and just why he would choose to go into bat for a serial protester who by his own admission has no respect for the law quite beggars belief.

But, as they say, there’s more.   Clarke claims to have served with 28 Maori Battalion.   There are five Clarke’s listed on the Battalion nominal roll … none of them Selwyn Clarke and all dead.    Further, there are seven Karaka’s (Maori for Clarke) listed … none of them with the forenames Haki Herewini (Clarke’s Maori forenames) and again, all dead.  

There is however evidence that he enlisted late in the war sailing to the Middle-East with the 15th Reinforcements.    That would have seen him on-board a ship when VE Day was announced.  The 15th Reinforcements landed in Egypt, were processed through to Italy to join the Division in time for them to be sent home. The only ‘action’ they saw would have been in Cairo or in some Italian Taverna.

The water gets muddier.   Clarke also claims he served as a Military Policeman and that would have seen him a member of the Divisional Provost Company and not 28 Battalion. I am inclined to believe this as my sources from within Maoridom tell me that Clarke was shunned by members of 28 Battalion when he tried to gatecrash on their gatherings.

But it gets better.   Clarke would have it that he first enlisted (at age 13 or 15 … changing story) under an assumed name (not revealed) where he served with 28 Battalion in the western desert in the 1941-43 campaign.  He claims one of his tasks was to escort prisoners through minefields and further, that his platoon commander (unnamed) shot prisoners and that this continually haunts him.   Now clearly Clarke is not the sharpest knife in the drawer or else he would have realized that he was admitting to being an accessory to a war crime as defined in the London Charter (the Nuremburg Laws) of 1945.

If the story is correct then Clarke may get to know more about arrest warrants.   There is no statute of limitations for war crimes.

If the story is incorrect then Clarke has bought dishonor to 28 Battalion and to an unnamed officer, now dead, with false allegations of war crimes.

I don’t think Mr Clarke has a lot of credibility.

So, there it is, Selwyn Clarke, either and by his own admission an accessory to a war crime (the murder of POWs) or a liar about his service with 28 Battalion.

Whatever, he has no credibility at all and Winston Peters has made a huge mistake in aligning himself with him.

More may come out on this.

Hehir on Seymour and Peters

December 10th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Liam Hehir writes:

Elite political newsletter Trans-Tasman has named David Seymour its “Politician of the Year”. Seymour, who is the leader of the ACT Party and its sole MP, is said to have played a blinder and to have proved his doubters wrong. In giving him the title, the newsletter editors said they were surprised at “the degree to which he seems to have made ACT a potential vote winner again”.

It’s hard to think of a better example of the disconnect that exists between New Zealand’s political commentators and the voters.

It’s certainly true that, in many ways, Seymour has done very well. As the champion of our right to gather in pubs to watch Rugby World Cup matches, he managed to strike a pose that was both popular and libertarian. His earnest manner, together with his support for bien-pensant causes like the Red Peak flag and assisted suicide, has largely defused the hostility he could ordinarily expect from the liberal punditry, whose default setting would be to tar him as a Right-wing fiend.

He has also proven a stable and reliable support partner for the Government and, by all accounts, has worked well as parliamentary under-secretary to the Minister of Education and Minister of Regulatory Reform.

But while all of this might have been terribly impressive, one thing David Seymour has singularly failed to achieve is improving the standing of his party with the people who really count – ordinary voters. In the 2014 general election in which he limped in to Parliament, ACT received just 0.69 per cent of the vote. And yet despite Seymour’s supposedly outstanding year, the last five public polls (as recorded by Curia Market Research) have shown ACT registering just 0.5 per cent, 0.2 per cent, 0.5 per cent, 0.5 per cent and 0.6 per cent support in the party vote stakes.

Hehir is right that ultimately performance is judged by voters at elections, and prior to that in the polls.

But I think it is all about timing and foundations. I don’t expect ACT to poll above 1% until an election campaign. That is when people will really focus on whether to change their vote.

What Seymour is doing is changing ACT’s brand from negative to positive, so that potential voters may choose them again. That won’t show up for some time. They’re still at the foundation building stage.

It gives me no pleasure to write this. On an intellectual level I am probably closer to David Seymour than John Key when it comes to the economy and the importance of private property. But while he may have done a good job impressing some journalists in the past year, the people he really needs to make a mark on are actual voters. There is no sign of his having done that yet.

Favourable impressions with journalists and pundits can help with the voters eventually.

To me, there can really be only one contender for the title of Politician of the Year: Winston Raymond Peters. Again, this gives me no pleasure. In my opinion, he is an economic xenophobe who would make the country poorer. Time and time again, he has shown himself to be an untrustworthy cynic.

So I was feeling a bit hopeful when he started to look like he had lost his mojo in 2014. That was the year in which he turned in a parliamentary confrontation with the prime minister over the Oravida issue that was so befuddled and confused that it virtually allowed the Government to draw a line under the scandal and move on.  More than a few people asked if we were seeing the beginning of the end for one of New Zealand’s most outspoken politicians.

They’re not asking that any more.

Ever since Peters stole the Northland seat in a by-election this year, he has all but guaranteed himself a starring role in the next election. Assuming he can hold on to the electorate, he has essentially managed to take out an insurance policy against the tyranny of the party vote threshold. In the event that an improving Labour starts eating into the NZ First party vote (which I consider likely), he will still be around to play the kingmaker.


He thought he would be kingmaker in 2014, and he wasn’t. If National can get 45% or better in 2017 and ACT get over 2% (three MPs) then he probably won’t be Kingmaker in 2017. If he is Kingmaker, I hope he chooses Labour, so they can be a one term Government.

Vance on Mark

November 8th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrea Vance writes:

Later, Mark – and some of his colleagues – were befuddled by the outrage.  “It’s not racist – grow up,” he blustered.

Yes, Ron Mark, it is. It’s deplorable that as a Member of Parliament you need this explained to you.  Every other party in Parliament – bar your own – understands this and have condemned your behaviour.

It is racist, because Lee was offended. It is racist because it implies that you are more “Kiwi” than Lee, who has made New Zealand her home for 30 years. …

It’s racist enough to get you arrested. In April, an Upper Hutt man was arrested for ordering tourists on a bus to “go back to your own country”. The ugly scene was filmed and uploaded to You Tube. 

Dozens of similar racist rants – usually on public transport – have been shared across the world. Usually they end in a court appearance.

Mark’s words are even more shocking than those viral videos because they came not from an ignorant lout on a bus, but from the mouth of an MP – to another MP – during a parliamentary debate.

Ron Mark would do well to apologise, rather than insist he said nothing wrong.

The most charitable we can be about Mark is to liken him to the embarrassing docile old uncle who knows no better.  But that excuses him.  And it’s more likely Mark’s behaviour was calculated.

He was working from the Winston Peters’ playbook, and is now revelling in the attention he’s receiving from the redneck constituency.

Peters was duly out, belligerently defending his MP this morning.  But the politics are indefensible precisely because they aren’t politics. 

Politics is raising general concerns about immigration. NZ First has gone well beyond that to targeting and stigmatising individuals and national (usually Asian) groups.

It’s time to be honest about that strategy and call out NZ First for exactly what it is: a racist party.

Sadly true – but not all of them. Tracey Martin had the guts to say it was wrong.

Will NZ First outpoll the Greens?

October 29th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Vernon Small writes:

The recent One News poll put National on 47 per cent but all its formal support parties were on life support.

On the other side of the fence Labour and the Greens combined got over 40 per cent but NZ First, with its 9 per cent backing, sat firmly on the fulcrum of power.

It also puts Peters within cooee of his long nurtured aim of out-polling the Greens. It is a possibility that understandably makes the Greens nervous.

That would, the theory goes, make it easier for him to insist on a Labour-NZ First Government forcing the Greens to support it from the cross benches.

I think Peters will insist the Greens are left out of Cabinet (at least), even if they poll more than NZ First. If he polls higher than them, then it is probably a certainty. As the Greens have effectively ruled out ever doing a deal with National, then they have no bargaining power with Labour, while Peters has it all.

Many expect Peters to opt for the simplicity of a two-way deal with National if he does hold the balance of power. But if he can out-poll the Greens in 2017 it arguably makes a centre-Left Government more likely. It would stick in Peters’ craw to play third fiddle in any political orchestra.

Yep. He doesn’t want the Greens (or before that the Alliance in 1996) being able to veto stuff he agrees with the major party in Government.

The wild card is the succession – and whether former Labour MP Shane Jones will be in the mix come 2017. 

There have been repeated suggestions Jones could take the reins from Peters after his term as the Government’s economic ambassador ends in May 2017.

He would also be a natural successor to Peters in the Northland seat, which is Jones’ power base too. 

But Peters is now expected to stay on and contest the 2017 election – and even the next in 2020.

So Peters in 2023 when he may retire will be 78. I think it is fair to say he aims to emulate his mentor Muldoon and stay in Parliament until he physically can’t cope.

Shane Jones is 56. Will he want to re-enter Parliament when he is 58 just as deputy leader with a possibility of becoming leader around the time he is 63 or 64?

Peters wants free trade with Putin!

October 16th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Now I’ve seen everything.

Winston Peters wants talks for a free trade agreement with Russia urgently kick-started, warning that we need to be on both sides of any new cold war that starts in Syria and not just cuddling  up to “Uncle Sam”.

Surely this is tongue in cheek. But no. The former Foreign Minister seriously suggests New Zealand should replace European food in Russian markets, following a Russian ban on imports from the European Union.

The EU’s sanctions date back to March last year and Russian president Vladimir Putin’s adventure in Crimea and Ukraine. Russia responded by refusing to buy EU imports. That’s one reason for global dairy market over-supply and the collapse in dairy prices.   

Technically, there’s nothing to stop New Zealand selling to Russia, but simple trade and diplomatic calculus suggests it would be an own-goal. That’s why Trade Minister Tim Groser cut short Russian free trade talks in March last year at the time of Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. It’s why Fonterra hasn’t embraced Russia as a golden opportunity. Doing so would have almost certain trade and diplomatic consequences among traditional friends, Europe and the US.

We’d become an international pariah.

To think Peters was once Foreign Minister.

Rodney’s 10 reasons on why Winston should be PM

September 29th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

An amusing sarcastic column from Rodney Hide on why Winston should be PM.

  1. It’s his turn
  2. Experience
  3. Entertainment
  4. Good for journalists
  5. His integrity is not in question – we know he lies
  6. Partnership
  7. Historical prophecy – hailed by Muldoon
  8. A Kingmaker can make himself King
  9. What else can he do?
  10. We deserve him, as people keep voting for him

An unhappy NZ First MP

September 28th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

It seems rather obvious all is not well in Winston First, as Tracy Martin speaks out:

In July Martin was rolled from the deputy leadership by “assertive and aggressive” Ron Mark and while she says he has the credentials for the job she also believes her gender played a part in her fall.

“I was asked by a reporter in Warkworth that said, why aren’t you deputy leader anymore, what did you do wrong? I’m not aware I did anything wrong so my flippant answer was, I was probably born the wrong gender. It’s an answer but it’s an unprovable answer,” says Martin.

Not good for an MP to be saying she got sacked as Deputy as she is female.

Martin says while Peters has a “1950s respect for women” he also sees the politics in everything, which is why he has previously sided with women on issues including underage forced marriage and paid parental leave.

That sounds like a back handed compliment, at best. So basically he sees women in the home, but as they have the vote will side on some issues for them! And this is from his own former deputy!

Peters says he was not sure what Martin meant by his “1950s respect”, but said that NZ First had more women on the board at a high level than any other party.

Do they make the tea also? And do they have more women on their board than Labour and Greens?

Martin’s time in Parliament could be tied to Peters – she says that if she was still there when he retired she would question whether she could stay on with another leader.

Translation is she won’t work for Ron Mark, or I suspect Shane Jones.

Key rules Peters out as co-PM

September 23rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The suggestion that Winston Peters could be prime minister in a job-share agreement if NZ First holds the balance of power is a joke, John Key says.

“[That has the same] chance as me holidaying on the lunar space station, I would have thought – just no chance,” Mr Key said.

National would never ever agree to Peters as a co-PM or sole PM for a short while.

Labour leader Andrew Little has also said any place for Mr Peters in a future Labour-led Government would depend on his support levels, but would not include the position of Prime Minister.

Ms Martin said she disagreed with Mr Little making that call now.

“He doesn’t know who he has got to deal with [after the 2017 election]. It is a silly thing to do, in my view, it is silly to rule things in and out before the vote has taken place. You don’t know what your position is.”

Key would clearly rather leave Parliament than have Peters as Prime Minister. But what will Little do if his only chance of being PM is to allow Peters say a year in the top spot?

Will Peters demand co-PM?

September 23rd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little is only just in front of NZ First leader Winston Peters in the preferred Prime Minister stakes but says he will not entertain the suggestion of sharing the top job if Mr Peters holds the balance of power.

In the latest 3 News Reid Research poll, NZ First would have the balance of power and on The Nation this weekend, Mr Peters would not rule out seeking a power-sharing role as Prime Minister if NZ First was strong enough.

He refused to answer a direct question, saying “it’s immaterial unless we get the kind of sign-up and support that we are seeking in 2017”. However, he pointed out there was precedent of the leader of the second biggest party in a coalition becoming Prime Minister – George Forbes in 1932.

Yesterday Mr Little said any place for Mr Peters in a future Labour-led government would depend on his support levels but the Prime Minister’s role was not up for grabs. “I don’t think New Zealand is ready to accept a state of musical chairs in the role of Prime Minister.”

But if it is a choice between that and a fourth term in opposition, would Labour buckle?


Winston says men should be forced to fight in Syria

September 9th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

From the crackpot file:

New Zealand should take only women and children refugees from Syria and tell the men to return home and fight, NZ First leader Winston Peters says.

His brain seems even more disengaged than normal.

And who should they fight for – ISIL or Assad?

And as he seems to be stuck in a 1970s time warp, if he thinks only men can be soldiers. He should visit Israel at some stage.

Six months for Winston to open an office

September 4th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Northern Advocate reports:

The 2017 election campaign appears to be off to an early start in Kerikeri with the National Party opening an out-of-Parliament office today – one day before Northland MP Winston Peters opens his first electorate office since winning the March byelection.

So Northland residents have not had an office for their local MP for six months. That’s show how committed Winston is to the seat.

Winston receives $350,000 a year of taxpayer money to be the MP for Northland. That is meant to be used for electorate offices, staff etc. But in six months he’s had no office or staff in Northland electorate.

Why? I doubt there is a lack of office space to be found.

Mr Peters had originally planned to open four offices around the electorate. A Dargaville office is planned and possibly also one in Wellsford.

So he promised four offices, and after six months has delivered one.

Mr Peters’ office hours have yet to be decided.

Will it be open at all, or just be an expensive billboard to promote Winston?

Well done Denis O’Rourke

August 3rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First MP Denis O’Rourke has vowed to resign if the party adopted a policy that would see “new settlers” forced to take out medical insurance for a decade.

The idea was proposed at the party’s annual conference in Rotorua on Sunday and a heated debate followed.

O’Rourke immediately stood up to declare the policy was discriminatory, illegal under the Bill of Rights and would open up NZ First to ridicule.

If the “disgraceful” remit was adopted, the list MP said he would considered withdrawing his membership.

His colleague Mahesh Bindra, who was born in India, also argued against the idea.

After arguments over the wording and the difference between citizens and permanent residents, the policy was rejected.

On Saturday, leader Winston Peters appeared to back the idea.

“Other countries have that. You can climb off a plane in New Zealand and be in our hospitals the next day … we’ve got to stop having a soft heart and a head to match,” Peters said.

Congratulations Denis O’Rourke. Great to see an MP take a principled stance.

Oh dear Winston

August 3rd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

NZ First leader Winston Peters says Corrections Minister Sam Lotu-Iiga is best placed to be in charge of the prison population because he is Polynesian.

He really said that?

It followed an attack on Cabinet Minister Anne Tolley who he said was unqualified to be education minister, a role she held until last year. He said he blamed Tolley and former justice minister Judith Collins for presiding over the privatisation of two of New Zealand’s prisons.

When it was pointed out that Lotu-Iiga had no experience with the prison system, he said: “I think Sam has a greater understanding of some of the psychology of some of the prisoners in New Zealand who happen to be Polynesian and Maori. I think he’s got a slightly better understanding than many people think.”

Asked to clarify is this was because he is a Pacific Islander, Peters said: “Look, if you come from the biggest population group in the prisons you might have a rough idea what some of their concerns and aspirations are better than some other country.

Except Polynesians are not the largest population group in prisons.

Maori are. They are 51% of the prison population, followed by Europeans on 33% and Pacific people on 11%.

If you adjust for population size, then you still have Maori way ahead of Pacific people.

Maybe Peters thinks there is no difference between Maori and Pasifika?

Winston vows 10,000 new members or he’ll resign

August 2nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Winston Peters has said NZ First will grow its membership by tens of thousands of people by the next election or he will resign.

But as with all Winston promises, it never lasts long.

After his opening address he told media that he wanted a war chest “way beyond” $1 million to fight the next election, and said he would resign if membership didn’t grow to support that.

NZ First spent $268,530 on last year’s election campaign.

Asked if he would he resign if membership did not grow by tens of thousands of people, he said he would, before later backing away from that and saying he misheard the question.

If Winston did get 10,000 members, then Labour would have fewer members than both the Greens and NZ First.

An Orwellian statement from NZ First

July 8th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

The former president of New Zealand First’s youth wing has been charged with possession of cannabis for supply.

Curwen Rolinson’s always been a troublemaker for New Zealand First and now it seems he’s a law-breaker as well.

Police arrested the aspiring politician on April 15, and he since appeared in court charged with possession of cannabis for supply.


Winston Peters in a huge show of loyalty to one of his most dedicated followers put out this statement:

A remit proposing to formalise a youth wing is coming before the New Zealand First Convention in August.

Mr Curwen Rolinson was told countless times never to call himself the president or leader of a youth wing. New Zealand First does not have a youth wing in its Constitution, and therefore does not have a former or present president of such an organisation.

This is such a rewriting of history, it ranks up there “We’ve always been at war with Eastasia” from George Orwell’s 1984 novel.

Here’s a few of the numerous mentions in the media over the years of Curwen as leader of the NZ First Youth. He’s also been on Backbenches many times representing the party.

Most delegates were aged over 60 but the party known for attracting the older voter could also be fielding one of this year’s youngest candidates if 21-year-old Curwen Rolinson, leader of the party’s youth section, gets the nod.

Herald on Sunday July 2011

NZ First President Kevin Gardener has confirmed the party has shut down its social media pages but is downplaying reports the move is linked to the leader of the party’s youth wing, Curwen Rolinson.

NZ Herald October 2013

The president of NZ First’s youth wing has signed a pledge in favour of same-sex marriage.

It is a move that goes against the party’s opposition to the marriage equality bill, which is due for its second reading in Parliament on Thursday.

NZ First Youth president Curwen Rolinson was one of eight youth party representatives who signed a marriage equality certificate outside Parliament this morning.


3 News March 2013

They’re young and politically minded, with plenty to say on the issues that affect New Zealanders. Karyn & Andrew talk to Curwen Rolinson of NZ first youth and Taylor Warwood of Act on Campus./

Radio Live March 2013

The Facebook page Letcher was referring to belongs to NZ First Youth leader Curwen Rolinson, who posted

Waikato Times December 2014

Everyone in politics knows that Curwen was the leader of their youth wing for several years. For Peters to claim he never was, is just appalling.

Hosking on NZ First

July 7th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Rob Hosking writes:

It appears Mr Mark’s move is aimed at forestalling any bid to recruit former Labour MP Shane Jones in to the party and to be installed as Mr Peters’ successor.

This has long been rumoured and on the surface it makes sense. Mr Jones and Mr Peters are known to be close: both are Northlanders by origin, and now Mr Peters holds the Northland seat Mr Jones is in a good position to take it if and when Mr Peters stands down.

Mr Peters himself is 70 and visibly flags at times in Parliament. The blokey, big personality of Mr Jones fits the New Zealand First brand rather well, and having left Labour because he no longer fitted within that rather shrunken, politically correct organisation, will be looking for a new vehicle.

So the received wisdom goes.

The trouble is, this could only work if New Zealand First MPs were prepared to behave like dumb cattle.

They might be known as “hillbillies” around Parliament but New Zealand First MPs are not beasts of burden at the beck and call of Winston Peters. They are, after all, politicians. They have politicians’ egos.

The ‘received wisdom’ that the whole thing would be neatly done by shipping Mr Jones in over the heads of the caucus always looked like the kind of idea cooked up in some room in Wellington and which involved the human beings involved behaving, well, not like human beings.

It was never going to work – at least, not without a major and highly destructive fight.

All this assumes, of course, Mr Jones actually wants the job.

But does he? 

Leading a small political party is a huge job. Taking over someone else’s small political party, when most of the caucus members of that party do not want you there?

It doesn’t sounds like a job with a future. 

Rob is right, and wrong.

He is right that Shane Jones can not just be foisted on a caucus that doesn’t want him.

He is also right that Jones may not want the job – especially if pushed onto colleagues who don’t want him. He had enough of that in Labour!

But where Rob may be wrong is the assumption that the caucus would not want him. Sure half of them probably think they could be leader, but deep down they will be worried that without Winston they won’t make 5% or hold Northland, and then all of them are unemployed.

I also understand that Mark and Jones get on quite well.

So I wouldn’t write off yet the possibility of Jones.

It’s Ron

July 3rd, 2015 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Ron Mark is New Zealand First’s deputy leader after caucus members voted to dump Tracey Martin from the position.

Leader Winston Peters issued a statement confirming the change this morning, ending speculation that had swirled around Parliament all week.

The fight for the deputy position is seen as important in terms of an eventual successor to Mr Peters.

A vote on caucus positions was planned for March, but was delayed after the Northland byelection and Ria Bond joining as the party’s 12th MP.

Caucus voted on Tuesday and elected Mr Mark as deputy leader, with effect from today.

Very tough on Tracey who has been a loyal and hard working MP for NZ First.

Mr Peters, who is currently travelling to Tonga, was believed to have supported Ms Martin.

Like Colin Craig, Winston is discovering he doesn’t have sole ownership of his party.

Note I reported this outcome yesterday. My sources were correct.

The secret NZ First Deputy!

July 2nd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

It says something about the culture of NZ First, that they seem to regard the identity of their deputy leader as a confidential secret.

Stuff reports:

Winston Peters says questions about New Zealand First’s deputy will soon be made clear, urging reporters to “be patient”.

Since Ron Mark returned to Parliament in 2014 there has been speculation that he may replace Tracey Martin as deputy, with talk mounting that a challenge had taken place this week.

This is like the days of the former USSR, where leadership changes were only announced some months after someone had died!

UPDATE: I understand that Mark did defeat Martin by one vote for the Deputy Leadership, after Richard Prosser swapped camps. We’ll find out tomorrow if this is correct, but heard from a parliamentary source.

It seems that Mark blames the Martins for his low list ranking last election, as he was seen as a threat – so this is a delayed utu.

If correct a shame for Tracy Martin, who I’ve found to be a decent MP. But the bigger issue is this is really all about who will succeed Winston Peters as leader. My money is still on Shane Jones.

An attempted coup in NZ First?

July 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Normally coup and NZ first do not go together as we all know Winston is Leader for life. But it seems there was an attempted coup for Deputy Leader reports the Herald:

New Zealand First members including leader Winston Peters have refused to comment on whether deputy leader Tracey Martin faced a challenge for her position.

Ron Mark was rumoured to be making a bid for the party’s deputy leader position, but this afternoon it was confirmed that – if any challenge was in fact made – it was unsuccessful.

Mr Peters has left it to his party members to shed some light on the situation.

He was asked repeatedly by media who his deputy leader is and whether he could confirm Ms Martin would remain in that position.

“I cannot discuss caucus business, that’s confidential. I am restricted by that. We do not discuss caucus business outside of caucus,” Mr Peters said.

During question time he faced jeers of “who’s deputy”. Ms Martin sat in the party’s deputy chair.

Afterwards, most NZ First MPs refused to comment, but Denis O’Rourke confirmed that Ms Martin remained deputy leader.

Mr Mark also said he was not the new NZ First deputy leader, but would not comment on whether he had made or planned a challenge.

Which strongly suggests he did, or tried to.

Wait until Shane Jones is parachuted in as the Deputy Leader. That will really upset both Ron and Tracey!

What a surprise – Winston was all talk and no action

June 3rd, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

More than two months after the Northland byelection the electorate’s new MP Winston Peters is yet to make any approaches on the promise he made to introduce SuperGold Card free ferry travel in the Bay of Islands and Hokianga.

At a public meeting in Paihia two days before the byelection, Mr Peters was asked about the lack of GoldCard concessions in the north. He said it was unfair Aucklanders benefited from free ferry rides to Waiheke and Northlanders should get the same for Paihia-Russell and Rawene to Kohukohu.

“I’ll get you a Gold Card across there. But it goes like this: you’ve got to vote for us first.”

Northlanders kept their side of that bargain but Mr Peters admitted yesterday he had not yet approached ministers about the SuperGold Card or sought to have the ferry rides included in this year’s Budget.

It’s coming soon!

Peters flip-flops on refugees

May 20th, 2015 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the number of refugees who are allowed to settle here should be greatly increased.

The Northland MP, who is well known for his opposition to current immigration levels, believes New Zealand’s refugee quote should be increased by at least a third.

There is currently an annual limit of around 750 places for refugees on United Nations waiting lists.

“There’s no reason, in my view, that we couldn’t go to 1000 easily, and do it in a responsible way,” Mr Peters said, in answer to a question from a first year politics class at Victoria University of Wellington yesterday.

Winston of course was campaigning against in 2004. The RMS responded to his claims:

Winston Peters’ comments in the House yesterday about New Zealand’s refugee quota system were inaccurate and misleading, says RMS Resettlement director Peter Cotton.

“He chose to hide behind Parliamentary Privilege to attack a former Somali refugee seeking to bring members of her family to New Zealand. At the same time he blatantly misrepresented the Government’s response to refugees, suggesting that each refugee accepted in New Zealand’s small annual quota (750) was likely to be followed by an additional 14 family members.

So in 2004 he was attacking us for having 750 by claiming each one would bring in 14 more. In 2015 he pretends he is in favour of increasing it.

In 2001 he attacked the Government for allowing in the Tampa refugees.

“The fact remains that New Zealand was a soft touch when she took office and it is even more of a soft touch now. Another load of refugees does not make any sense when we have already been very charitable. The truth is that there were many UN signatory countries closer to the Tampa than New Zealand, why then is New Zealand being expected to once again grossly exceed its limit?

“The duplicity of government is astounding. The more facts that come out of this debacle the more concerning it gets. We now hear that many may be carrying third-world diseases, as if we didn’t know that, and have not been treated in Nauru first. The Government has a duty to protect the health and security of its inhabitants, a test which it is failing miserably.

Not big on consistency is he.

Hehir’s prediction to 2020

April 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Liam Hehir predicts some future press clippings. They include:

  • Willow-Jean Prime ranked 12th on Labour’s List in 2017, with Andrew Little encouraging more tactical voting in Northland
  • NZ First gains 4.6% of the vote but remains in Parliament as it holds Northland in 2017 election
  • NZ First announces coalition deal with National
  • July 2020 – PM Paula Bennett announces ACT and NZ First as preferred coalition partners for 2020 election and encourages tactical voting in Epson and Northland, with Opposition Leader Grant Robertson condemning the deal with NZ First

Labour may regret making NZ First’s only electorate seat, a very blue one.

How much extra Winston First gets for winning Northland

March 31st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

So how much extra money will Winston personally get, and his parliamentary party get for winning Northland, and bringing in an extra List MP. It’s quite a bit.

  • Winston – $1,360 extra salary per year
  • Barbara Stewart (NZF Whip) – $1,360 extra salary per year
  • NZ First Parliamentary Party:
    • $64,320 extra leadership funding
    • $22,000 extra party funding
    • $3,804 extra relief funding
    • $354,832 extra MP funding
    • $444,956 total additional taxpayer funding

Not a bad outcome for Winston. I’m sure of course all that extra funding will be used to work tirelessly on behalf of the people of Northland.

What a surprise – Winston decides to get another MP

March 30th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The media are like Charlie Brown, when it comes to Winston Peters. No matter how many times Lucy grabs the ball away, they always give him the benefit of the doubt.

The Herald yesterday reported:

NZ First leader Winston Peters says NZ First may decide not to bring an extra MP into Parliament after his Northland byelection win because his party supports a smaller Parliament.

Mr Peters’ 4,000 vote win last night allows him to resign his list position, opening the way for someone else on NZ First’s list to enter Parliament.

Mr Peters said the party would “seriously consider” not taking on the extra MP.

“It may be we decide that we are for a much smaller Parliament, that we won’t take this option and that we will try and demonstrate that Parliament should be, as the Robertson petition said, no more than 100 people.”

Note the use of quote marks, which means a direct quote.

Then this morning in Stuff:

Northland’s new MP Winston Peters has confirmed he will resign from the NZ First list meaning his party will now gain an extra MP.

The change in the makeup of Parliament will make it harder for the Government to govern.

The NZ First leader, who convincingly wrested the northern stronghold from National by more than 4000 votes, told Radio NZ’s Morning Report that there was never a question that he would resign as a list MP.

“Of course I’ll resign, I don’t know why it was ever a material question,” he said.

I never had any doubt he would resign. And it is a useful reminder that you basically can’t believe anything he says.