Can Brexit Dirty Politics win NZ First 13%? Really?



Winston Peters hires political operatives, dubbed the bad boys of Brexit, to help run NZ First campaign

A pair of political operatives, dubbed the bad boys of Brexit, have been hired by New Zealand First to create “mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare” in the upcoming election.

Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore will be lending their campaigning experience to Winston Peters’ party as he attempts yet again to be king, or queen, maker after September 19.

“I’m going to be on the ground in New Zealand causing trouble – mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare in the New Zealand election,” Wigmore told the Telegraph.

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Put simply: “The bad boys are back.”

The pair, who published a diary called The Bad Boys of Brexit, were prolific anti-EU campaigners and formed a key part of the Brexit campaign in 2016.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Banks – who bankrolled the pro-Brexit group Leave.EU – said his team’s goal was to boost New Zealand First’s share of the vote to as high as 13 per cent.

…this is interesting and it gets a bit weird, because Winston has subsequently told media this claim they are working for him isn’t true…

Winston Peters denies hiring political operatives dubbed the bad boys of Brexit, to help run NZ First campaign

…someone isn’t being honest here, but let’s pause and consider their impact.

Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore as election consultants is an interesting twist, but Banks & Wigmore’s success rested on Cambridge Analytica micro targeting of voters – can they gain that level of information to impact the NZ election?

Electioneering previous to Facebook amounted to identifying voters from a known voting pool and serving that voting pool up messages that made them vote. This was crude targeting, if you lived in a wealthy neighbourhood, you would hear messages attuned to you, if you lived in a poorer neighbourhood, you would hear messages tailored for that environment.

Facebook however allowed you to hunt not just for known voters, but that vast swathe of people who also don’t bother voting.

On the Left we have told ourselves that vast swathe of people who don’t vote are poor and brown and disenfranchised, and while that is certainly true, it also includes a large number of angry white men who don’t bother voting because they feel culturally alienated by the current paradigms of micro-aggression policing and Millennial sensibilities. This group of males are economically paranoid by their perceived lack of cultural power and whose economic anxiety clashes with being told they are the ones with the privilege.

Rather than engaging, these male white voters simply shield themselves in apathy and cynicism and don’t vote.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica changed all this. They suddenly had hundreds of data points to know how to precisely push those angry white non voters into rage fuelled voting machines. This manipulation of white male anger become the driving force that saw Trump win, Brexit win and Scott Morrison win.

This was the style of campaign National were looking to do under Simon Bridges, but Todd Muller pulled that because he was trying to differentiate a nicer leadership style.

Can Banks & Wigmore harness culture war white male resentment without Cambridge Analytica micro messaging insights? Do those trigger messages still reverberate in a pandemic environment?

Surely the alienation that made white male anger so harvestable for Trump, Brexit and Scott Morrison evaporates because of the solidarity of Covid?

In a pandemic environment, these games of political spite seem far less certain because people have real threats to their lives, not imagined cultural inferiority complexes.

Winston is right to shun these two.


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  1. The white male protest vote will go to Act this election not NZ First. Jacinda has done what John Key couldn’t

  2. The cost of this pair assisting NZF is reported to be $100,000

    1. Who is providing this money?
    2. Has it been declared by NZF as part of their election funding?

    On a related topic – now that the second report on moving the Auckland port has been received, throwing cold water on Northport, the Labour party have wisely backed away from making a commitment, so Shane Jones is screwed in his bid to win a seat up North.


    • I was at the Manukau Heads lighthouse recently and looking towards Auckland you had to wonder why not use this harbour for the new port – it goes straight to the heart of industry, is easy to access southern motorway and eliminates all that truck and rail freight from way up north which is an absolute crime against the enviroment.

      • Yes and how many shipwrecks have there at the Manukau Heads? Besides the Grey & Buller River bars, the Manukau Harbour is the 3rd most dangerous bar crossing in NZ. Which means the harbour entrance will have to be dredged almost 24/7 and that’s before we start talking about dredging the shipping lane or the berthing area for the ships.
        Then there is the RMA, ToW and the Environmental impact statement which would yrs to complete. In other words this is F***ing nuts. if this Report was produced back in the day of the old MoW they would say the same thing as well, but with much more detail and costs unlike some of today’s infrastructure reports which lack just about everything unlike the old MoW Reports.

        I think there is an old MoW Report lurking around somewhere in Wellington Gathering dust on moving the Auckland Port to Manukau Harbour from the late 60’s to late 70 or possibly early80’s, it supported the moving the Auckland port to Northland and including in the price was upgraded the rail & roading including the Avondale rail corridor as well. This was to start after the work on the Marsden Pt oil refinery and power station during the “Think Big Projects”. Thence why Winnie & Jonesy are pushing for the Northland Harbour Project.


    Muller addressed things that had been an image problem for Bridges.

    This is what you can expect from my leadership: First and foremost – I’m about what’s best for you and your family – not what’s wrong with the Government.
    And I’m not interested in opposition for opposition’s sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics.

    Perhaps yes considering Todd Muller is using dirty politics now to boost his ratings too??
    “Go with the flow” Winston.

    As Todd Muller promised ‘no dirty politics’ in his first speech, and now uses dirty politics, so maybe he is on to something too???
    Here’s the proof what Todd Muller promised no ‘dirty politics as usual’ back then when he first opened his mouth;

    Muller addressed things that had been an image problem for Bridges.

    This is what you can expect from my leadership: First and foremost – I’m about what’s best for you and your family – not what’s wrong with the Government.
    And I’m not interested in opposition for opposition’s sake. We’re all tired of that kind of politics.

    • Walker is gone proving Muller is a strong leader and will move against one of his own and has been honest about its appearance as dirty politics. Weather it can undo the harm is another matter.
      It seems we the tax payer has paid a million dollars for a report that favoured the NZF idea of where a new Port of Auckland should go which has proved to useless. This report needs the sniff test as the only person it could help was Shane Jones election bid.

  4. Another thing you can’t do in public campaigns, but that you can do with targeted, private ads on corporate social media platforms, is vote suppression. I remember reading that a lot of the data and ads used on FarceBook etc by the Trump campaign targeted people likely to vote for Clinton, and nudged them towards not voting at all. It’s likely that the Leave campaign targeted Remain supporters and nudged them towards not turning up to the polls either. It’s equally likely that the collapse in votes for both UK Labour and Bernie Sanders was, at least in part, engineered using these same dirty tricks.

    Yet another reason to delete your account on any corporate platform that serves ads, and to use script blockers that stop you from being datafarmed and nudged by targeted, private ads:


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