We all deserve better than New Zealand First


It’s a sad irony that the wizened politician Winston Peters is the one who allowed Jacinda Ardern the current opportunity to form a Government coalition while also limiting her ability to oversee a properly transformational government.

The most recent instances of questionable behaviour by New Zealand First highlight the party’s predeliction for playing loose, and there’s been a pattern of behaviour that’s been tolerated throughout this electoral term. There’s an argument that with the most recent revelations of hidden electoral donations, due process should allow the Serious Fraud Office to complete its investigation before judgments are made – on the other hand, there’s a smoking gun – Winston was involved in the establishment of the New Zealand First Foundation, which secretly channeled donated funds to the party, packaged into small amounts so they were under the statutory threshold but which cumulatively should have been declared. Media outlets have been careful to say that the donors didn’t break any laws, though in similar dodgy donation deals from the National Party, where the judicial process is further developed, both the facilitators of the undeclared donations and the donors, have been charged. So even while there’s still due process to run its course in the donations scandal, there are risks for Jacinda Ardern in being perceived as weak against Winston and New Zealand First, because the failure of Jacinda to stand up to Winston over the dodgy donations sits in a broader distasteful context.

Shane Jones practicing target shooting with automatic weapons of murder. Shane Jones and other New Zealand First contacts lobbying for forestry contracts while presiding as Minister of Forestry. These are some of the unethical and corrupt (?) practices we’ve become aware of. NZ First MP’s behaviour is often boorish, rude and offensive, bizarre, unhinged and/or unfathomable (Shane’s bursting into song at the Fifty Shades of Green rally, Winston playing Radio Gaga instead of answering media questions). While high profile politicians elsewhere around the world, such as Boris Johnson and Donald Trump display equally bizarre behaviour, the New Zealand First power to veto progressive policies from the Labour and Green parties, while banking policy gains to further their own political prospects means the regressive, retrograde and conservative policies of NZF dominate -overpower- the potential for public good, forward looking, structural reform for New Zealand more widely.

In the post-election Coalition negotiation arm wrestle/lolly scramble, New Zealand First secured their own policy gains such as the Provincial Growth Fund so they could play pork barrel politics up and down the country. But at the same time, they preserved the power to veto more progressive initiatives from Labour and the Greens. So who has the power? Winston Peters has the power – the country is being held to ransom by his conservative coalition minority party. New Zealand First is the tail wagging the dog and biting the dog, and everyone else too.

Because both National and NZ First are embroiled in election donation scandals, there’s some argument for reform of electoral funding. The crony capitalism that New Zealand First practices so well, with its electoral donations from sectoral interests and revolving door of MPs, lobbyists and advisors leading to policy vetoes and bias, should be reformed through full tax-payer funding of party political campaigns at election time, say some. Without full state funding, parties are dependent on donors – who will want favourable policies in return. Parties can’t be trusted to declare donations and will try to hide in whose interests they are voting. The solution, the argument goes, is to remove dependence on private sector funders and fund election campaigns with taxes. That might avoid the impression of vested interests buying votes, but it won’t stop politicians supporting policies where their own commercial, social, political or personal interests coincide with policy beneficiaries, against wider public and environmental good.

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In the case of a New Zealand First veto of fisheries regulations to protect endangered species for example, even if they’re not receiving electoral donations from Talley’s (which Shane Jones has), his past, present or future interests in the fishing industry mean he’s likely to oppose necessary restrictions or controls. Similarly with forestry, and other sectors. I haven’t seen any evidence that NZF was receiving donations from forestry companies, but their own attempts to secure contracts for planting trees as part of the NZF initiated “Billion Trees” programme show what happens when self-interest coincides with potential commercial gain. Election donations to NZF from the horse racing industry or property developers, leading to tens of millions of dollars of subsidies, tax breaks, investments, and favourable policies, might be saved with full tax-payer funded election campaigns, but that doesn’t guarantee that personal rewards discontinue, or that the MPs suddenly become impartial, benevolent or public interested. An MP or party, by nature occupies a place on the political-economic spectrum and will continue to represent the interests therein, whether they receive direct, declarable donations or not. What we need is a higher calibre of politician, not just more robust funding mechanisms. Even with tax-payer funded elections, catering to special interest pleading and favours can be motivated by MP’s self-interest, future-oriented incentives, networks and other connections, and shared world view.

They say failure is an orphan, but success has many fathers. The political game NZ First plays shows they claim credit for policies successfully secured but they also master the self-promoting gloating social media meme every time they subvert a Labour or Green policy promise. This week the memes are about their veto of the proposed Green Party Electric Vehicle subsidy. Previously they proudly claimed credit for preventing the implementation of Capital Gains Tax (though Jacinda’s pledge to never support the tax in her time as leader was inexplicable). They’ve held up fisheries reform, conservation promises, welfare reform. NZ First claims credit for every policy they secure and every Coalition or support party policy they prevent.

As we get nearer to the election, the stakes get higher. NZ First are already quick to make policy promises, to court conservative policy audiences (for example agriculture), to distinguish their policy agenda from Labour or the Greens. The gloves are off. In this trienium, NZ First have been both the giver of supreme power to Jacinda Ardern and the Labour Party, but also the brake on that power. Gains have been secured for NZ First donors, and Labour/Green aspirations have been humiliated and thwarted.

According to current polling, NZ First may not secure enough votes to return to power. NZ First aren’t to be trusted. We can’t afford to have power in New Zealand First’s hands (or National’s either). A Labour/Green Government willing to go further, faster with reform without the constraints of NZ First are essential if we are to address the problems of the modern age. We’d be so much better off without their crony capitalism, though dealing with the greed of capitalists would still be a challenge to face if we really want transformation toward greater equality that citizens deserve.


  1. I strongly disagree.

    Peters especially is a superb politician and the Government is not exactly overflowing with superb politicians. I disagree with the way W.P often wields his power. I disagreed with his totally outdated stance against drug testing at concerts to help keep young Kiwis safe which has since been reviewed. Strongly disagreed with NZF putting a stop to the desperately needed Capital Gains Tax. I do however feel NZF is a strong coalition partner that for the most part , adds balance to the Government.

    What New Zealand needs at this time more than ever is a concerted effort from those in the media to highlight the divisive skulduggery the National Party is up to and the diabolical impact they will have on our beautiful country if they manage to get back into Government. Attacking an important Government coalition partner is doing little more than National’s dirty work. I’m sure Bridges and Bennett would be ecstatic to read this anti NZF thread stating NZ deserves better than that coalition partner.

    • Yeah, I kinda disagree too. While electoral reform would solve a lot of problems let’s not kid ourselves that Winston is the person holding Labour back though. That particular role has gone to Grant Robertson who is doing way more to slow down any transformational ambitions that Jacinda may have had (if indeed she really had them).

      Until we get a government that isn’t neoliberal nothing serious is ever going to change and ironically enough, NZ First is the least neoliberal party in the beehive at the moment – annoying as they may be at times.

      • Aaron,

        A big part of what is having fingers pointed at NZF at this time surrounds their foundation and the fact he is hated by our media but perspective is really important. Bridges and Bennett have already convicted Peters and NZF without a trial and demanding Peters be stood down. The NZ media then climb on board. Exactly the same bullshit occurred with the farcical alleged cover up of sexual abuse by our PM. Bridges and Bennett would have had Ardern executed at dawn. No trial required. GUILTY.

        National have not learned a thing and our media have learned even less. NZF are still well and truly in the game and know exactly where the finish line is.

        To my eye, the whole JLR and dodgy Chinese donations has potential to be far more damaging to National than the NZF foundation is to WP and NZF. JLR is just waiting to spill his guts in court. How ironic that Bridges is bleating about the integrity of NZF over donations.

  2. Here’s what I’d do if I was a prime minister of AO/NZ under precisely the same circumstances.
    ( I was going to write ‘This is what I’d do if I were Jacinda Adern’ but that sounds a bit fruity, even in these enlightened times.)
    Prime Minister Adern should give this a go…
    A bit old fashioned, I admit but worth a go I reckon…
    Talk to us? We? Us lot? The public? The People? The voters? The tax payers? The workers who earn the money to pay the taxes which pay our politicians? I know, I know. Old fashioned, I admit…
    Talk to us about stuff and things. Not just when she needs to schmooze us into re electing her to enable her to hop back on the gravy train.
    Set aside an hour or two for, say, a monthly meeting with us to talk over the constantly evolving nature of the way our country’s governed.
    That kind of approach is found within corporate structures and governmental institutions at management levels so why not between our prime minister and we, the people? After all, she’s the CEO of AO/NZ and we’re her board of directors.
    So? Then? Why all this fucking around?
    Why the weird, double-meaning, mumbo jumbo? NZ First? Slithering about under the table, sniffing here and there for dirt and doing do-do’s on our carpet?
    And the tainted natzo’s with their polyester panties all in a twist around their dull little diddles? What a pack of wankers, man? I mean, Jesus Christ!
    But seriously? What the fuck’s going on?
    ( Well, because I’m as intelligent as I am handsome and I am quite handsome, I know what’s going on alright. We’re being conned like a Las Vegas Casino on P can con. )
    Here it is again folks:
    The reason there’s so much complex secrecy surrounding our politics and in particular the formation of policy is because we, us lot, are not in control of our own AO/NZ. ‘They’ are. And the ‘They’s’ are # A Never going to let go of their control over us. Ever.
    And #B Nope. Not ever.
    While the riche ‘They’s’ can cling to control over OUR politicians by way of ‘donations’ which enable ‘lobbying’ we’re never going to have any real say in our AO/NZ’s future. Look into the past? See? There ya go.
    ” The best way to predict the future is to study the past” Someone said that.
    @STJ. You wrote:
    (though Jacinda’s pledge to never support the tax in her time as leader was inexplicable)
    The Big Four Banksters sucked close to $6 billion dollars out of our economy in net profit last financials.
    I mean, really Jacinda? Really? Where are you on that? Can you, and dear little grant please explain? Take your time. We’re listening… So go! The mic is yours. Sip of water? Clear your throat. Take your time. No hurry.
    Below is an example of the potential for a conflict of interests bigger than a vegan lion might experience while growing vegetables to feed Antelope.
    Fletcher Challenge.
    Fletcher’s wife is the Chief Justice of New Zealand Dame Sian Elias. His brother Angus Fletcher, who was also involved with the family firm, is ex-husband to former Mayor of Auckland, and City and Government Minister Christine Fletcher. His older brother Jim Fletcher was murdered at his holiday home in the Bay of Plenty in 1993.[3]
    Moving on:
    Fletcher was a New Zealand Representative on the Trilateral Commission. In 2002, he was appointed to the board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. He was subsequently reappointed in 2007.[4] He is also Chair of the board of directors of IAG New Zealand and a board director of Fletcher Building and Vector Limited.[5] In August 2007 he was appointed to the board of Insurance Australia Group.[6]
    @ SSJ:
    You wrote further…
    “…to court conservative policy audiences (for example agriculture)”
    What makes you think that agriculture courts conservative policies?
    Is it because the natzo’s have told you to assume so? Is it because the National Party has instructed their lap-dog MSM to say that often enough to have non farmer people come to believe that to be so?
    I’m a farmer and my politics are far from ‘conservative’. And I’m now a film locations scout and as such I’ve met many farmers and their politics which range from careless exasperation to a dark mistrust of everything in a suit. And there are many things in suits out there with regard to agriculture, I can tell you.
    I see @ Castro here making noises about the Chinese and their influence here.
    Well, sure they are? So are the Americans, the Germans, the British, the Australians…
    So why does @ Castro bang on about the Chinese? Is it because the @ Castro types are Machiavellian confederates groomed to spread confusion by deflection in hopes that our rotten, corrupt, deviant home grown politics is swept under the grubby rug ? I my opinion, you betcha.

  3. I find it weird that the post does not mention one of the biggest betrayals and u turns of NZ First policy and why they are currently at 3% which is their surprise and sudden u turn of their election immigration stance…

    It would involve a wokester mentioning the “I” word though which has been banned since in woke and neoliberal circles since 2017.

    The betrayal of NZ First is, that after campaigning for decades to stop NZ being the third highest immigration nation in the world per capita NZ First suddenly started to allow hundreds of thousands of temporary low paid migrant workers into NZ for the likes of Talley’s and the construction industry which helped keep wages low. They then allowed COL to reintroduce the migrant parents category (which even the Natz eventually had to stop due to all the granny dumping, pensions and health care spends https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/315435/migrants'-parents-cost-nz-'tens-of-millions‘) and concessions for more arranged marriages coming to NZ.

    It is also starting to look like NZ First foundation may have taken donations from apartment developers who sold mostly to Chinese nationals and thus surprise surprise the new build apartments (which in most cases are not affordable but luxury overpriced ones,) were exempt from the overseas buyers ban (along with Singaporeans, overseas residents like foreign students, Aussies and god knows how many other exemptions allowed).

    So my beef is more about NZ First’s betrayal for their voters and the increasingly lack of choice for voters, because the donations appear to have radically changed NZ First policy behaviour.

    In some ways it’s more alarming than the Natz who at least bother to be transparent as to tape their conversations relating to donations and MP list seats based on the ‘value’ of ethnic lines. Sarcasm.

    After some of the NZ First foundation donations, NZ First seem to have gone from supporting a protectionist labour stance and benefits, to the opposite, being extremely low wage employer migrant friendly.

    They also have allowed the bringing back the aged migrant category, concessions for arranged marriages to come to NZ, and watering down the overseas residents buyers ban such as exempting new build apartments. They also are in government with some of OIA’s highest consents being issued.

    Obviously they did not do this alone as Labour had to help them too! And who knows maybe the Greens joined in through the woke spectrum on the grounds of stupidity. Natz policy is across the board.

    In some sort of dirty politics guzumping as well, as what can be made of RNZ, because like NZ First, suddenly they have made a massive u turn to support anything migrant related and keep the gravy train of NZ visas and citizenship going for the 1% benefiting from it all… … all while constantly trying to take down NZ First and ‘exposing’ them.

    The NZ First betrayal is less about taking the donations and splitting them which seems to be rubber-stamped by most of the parties, but that NZ First took the donations and pushed through policy that was the opposite of their proposed election policies of keeping NZ in NZ ownership and stopping NZ mass immigration experiment in particular the giving away of NZ pensions to overseas nationals who don’t have to pay in or live in NZ very long to qualify and thus is tripling migrant pensioner numbers here, when Winston has been so outspoken on pensions in the past.

    I have never voted for NZ First because I perceive them as anti environment even though I support them on their former immigration and Labour protection stances.

    Sad to see them go down in some ways, and I don’t think it was by accident these ‘donations’ have suddenly been exposed so close to the election, nor the RNZ u turn!

    All roads seem to lead to neoliberalism or wokism in NZ.

    • Neoliberalism and wokism are part of the same thing of course.
      The woke have done well from neoliberalism they are quite comfortable and from their position of privilege, see fit to pursue keyboard activism.
      The neoliberal system loves the woke- their activism is of course just hot air, yet it is a perfect tool for dividing and conquering- just watch these fools cheerleading their own loss of rights to free speech or right to silence!
      Corporate culture too loves the woke, so many niche markets to tap- veganism , carbon neutral, money to be made!
      And who would want to be the company without the gender neutral policy or the mindfulness courses! $$!

      Our slow march in to authoritarianism is being championed by the woke and the system LOVES it.

  4. That’s right keep blaming Winston for this governments ineptitude. All the power is in Arderns hands she can call Peters bluff and announce a early election, but she wont because she is weak and woefully out of her depth. We all knew what Winston is like, but we were so blinded by power that we chose to drink that poison anyway. The left in this country are a embarrassment.

      • No idea who you are Bert but reading TDB for a wee while it is very clear Labour could emulate the Nazi Party and you’d still be their biggest fan. I do very much admire enthusiastic even if I think that are a bit whack job in their fanaticism.

        Do you think that people who do demonstrate the inability to at least pretend to take a fair and reasonable look at all options be allowed to vote?

        • The issue though Peter is I don’t see embarrassment, so I have the right to disagree. Or is freedom of speech only allowed when you say so.
          I’ve also seen your posts Peter and whilst I disagree on many occasions you have the right to voice those opinions.
          My question to you… do you not see corruption or narcissistic behaviour?
          remember Brownlee barging through Christchurch airport or Aaron (don’t you know who I am) Gilmore?

        • But Mickey, I’m just not sure what isn’t being delivered. Yes Kiwibuild was a failure, some labour ministers were failures. I did list yesterday what Labour have achieved and to you and Peter Barry I just try to offer balance particularly to the N.Z. Herald right wing narrative.
          Here is a column yesterday..https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12310595
          Written by Ashley Church. Ashley Church who in 1987 he stood as the National Party’s parliamentary candidate for safe Labour seat of Napier. He finished in second place. It just needs balance.

    • MickeyBoyle,

      Another misogynist bitter at National not being in Government.

      Who the fuck are you to say Ardern is weak and woefully out of her depth? You wouldn’t know if your arse was on fire.

      Bill English was a pathetic PM. About as much personality as a comatose mullet. All he could do was wander around spouting “strong stable Government” 40 thousand times hoping he could brainwash people into believing that. It blew his mind having to say anything else. The quintessential bean counter who was only PM because God (John Key) wanted that.

      Ardern is an extremely intelligent person. Regardless of political leaning, only a fucking moron would ridicule her intellect.

      She displays outstanding leadership skills. You go and get three very different rugby teams in your area with 15 decent players in each team all who have very different game plans. Drop in a few star players for good measure who want things done their way. Then merge those competitive teams into one team. Now you coach that one team for three years ensuring you can somehow win the league and keep the team together while under extreme pressure from other desperate teams with an army of supporters ridiculing, attacking and misrepresenting you and your team every step of the way. Even include a completely bias fucked media in on that. Then have clueless online trolls spouting off that you’re a weak coach woefully out of your depth.

      That vile campaign against Ardern is so incessant, powerful and widespread, my 8 and 10 year old grandchildren are repeating to me the abusive names Ardern is referred to by other primary school children routinely used after hearing their fuckwit parents. If there is a bad weekend on our roads, it’s Ardern’s fault. Not enough rain in your area, blame Ardern. A gang killing, blame Ardern. Perspective has been destroyed and lost by entitled, arrogant, selfish and divisive fuckwits still sulking that a party other than National has the audacity to govern NZ. It’s fucking ridiculous.

      You allege Ardern is weak because she “won’t stand up” to Winston Peters. I could fill the townhall with what you don’t know. Had Ardern “stood up” to NZF over the Capital Gains Tax, it would have unquestionably resulted in a constitutional crisis leading to a snap election. Christmas day for National. She was obviously deeply disappointed and frustrated about the CGT but had to manage her Government and avoid a crisis. She did that and the ignorant clowns call her “weak”.

      It must be remembered that NZF was not the only group opposed to the CGT. New Zealand was subjected to a sustained extremely negative scaremongering misrepresenting campaign all day every day by vested interest groups desperate not to pay their fair share of the tax burden. That campaign would have continued on 24/7 right up to election day.

      Had John Key made the same prudent calls Ardern has, the trolls would have been spouting off what an astute MAN and PM he is……..but it’s Ardern so SHE is weak and woefully out of her depth.

  5. Its all just a matter of timing. Climate Catastrophe, Economic Doom, Social Discourse & the breakdown of Civil Society as we know it. It is all happening now, around the world.

    “We” as a world population are tied into the death throws of the End of Capitalism. It shouldn’t take more than a decade or two… just a bit of cyclical timing is needed to bring about the convergence of all these factors and then …

  6. Yeah naah Christine. Labour has Twyford who is the biggest joke in the coalition.

    Then, how about Genter and her light rail tram fetish in Auckland? Jobs for friends and family?

    I’d suggest NZ First is probably the best of the 3 in the coalition. However, let’s watch JLR murder National in court!

    • Should we be surprised sis?
      The political system ‘is’ corrupt. Its pretty hard for politicians and their funders to understand this simple fundamental, rudimentary element.
      But, Labour needs NZF as the Gweens are on Wharepaku duty post election. Taking the Maori partys place. Or, if TOP can score a seat, the same goes for the Maori party too.

    • We actually deserve to not have Talley’s being able to influence all the major parties fishing policy which means that commercial fishing is running rampant in NZ and coasting on our ‘sustainable’ innovations from decades ago that have gone backwards under neoliberalism and certainly not keeping pace with advances in profitable trawler fishing that decimate fish and marine populations…

      Goodbye Maui dolphins was the $40k worth it?

      “Talley’s donated a total of $40,000 to eight other candidates during the 2017 election campaign – seven from the National Party and one from Labour – giving each of them $5000. All eight donations were disclosed by the respective candidates.”

  7. If you are against overfishing then Greenpeace have a petition to look at how all the fishing regulations have been stopped to prevent overfishing.


    In particular stopping cameras on fishing boats which are known to keep the fisheries honest!

    Can’t have that!!!

    Is this a set up, to get rid of NZ First forever, aka you get Talleys and other’s to donate to the NZ First Foundation and influence them, and then in an election year, reveal all!!! Two for the price of one! And so nice for the Natz who is Talley’s real home turf to help their mates to victory!

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