Winston Peters, Tracey Martin, Andrew Williams, Richard Prosser, Barbara Stewart Brendan Horan, Denis O’Rourke, Asenati Taylor. Their No 9 candidate Helen Jane Mulford holds the 121st quotient and could come in, but traditionally NZ First does not do so well on specials
7.5/10.An excellent result for Peters. He capitalised on his opportunities and not only made 5%, but made it easily. He has proven himself the great survivor and NZ First is only the second political party to be elected to an MMP Parliament that did not already have a sitting MP (ACT in 1996 was the first).
The score would match National’s if they had ended up holding the balance of power.
The short-term challenge is the caucus. Few of them have significant parliamentary or even political experience. Peters need to put in a place a strong experienced Chief of Staff to help managed them. My pick would be former MP and Party President Doug Woolerton. Rumour has it that Michael Laws is also a contender. Michael’s cunning is second to none, but his relationship with Winston goes through ups and downs.
The longer-term challenges depend on what Winston wants. If his major motivation is revenge on John Key, then he could well be placed to achieve that in 2014 by denying National a third term. If his motivation is to become a Minister again, then his challenge is to convince National and Labour that he can be a stable player.
Peters is 66. I can see him standing again in 2014 when he will be 69, but in 2017 he will be 72 and would be commiting to still be an MP at age 75 if he contested that election. There are two paths ahead for NZ First. One is that Peters remains Leader and an MP indefinitely, and when he goes, NZ First goes.
The second path is that Peters uses the next two terms to build up leadership sucessors such as Andrew Williams and Brendan Horan, with a managed transition heading into maybe 2017. Then Peters gets the ultimate legacy – a party that survives him.