Winston’s Comeback: A Strategy.

22
1909

IS WINSTON PETERS on the comeback trail? At 76 years of age, there are many who say that Winston is too old to contemplate a return to Parliament. Then again, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, was 78 years old when he took the Oath of Office on 20 January 2021. So … maybe not. But, if he is serious about taking the comeback trail (and there are many well-placed to know who insist that he is) then from what quarter of the political compass should Winston set out? And, who will provide him with the wherewithal for what is always a very costly journey?

Winston’s knows well the path he and NZ First would be best advised to follow. It is a path with which the NZ First leader is already thoroughly familiar. Having followed it all the way to the Deputy Prime Ministership and a coalition with National in 1996, he is well aware of right-wing populism’s advantages and disadvantages. Few New Zealand politicians possess a better appreciation of how well anti-Maori and anti-Asian messages are received by large sections of the electorate. He is also aware of how much more effectively these familiar right-wing themes might be “sold” to conservative voters if they were associated with the “evils” of “liberal wokedom”.

It is often forgotten by those on the Left who range themselves alongside tangata whenua struggling for tino rangatiratanga and a te Tiriti-based constitution, that by no means all Maori subscribe to their cause. As was the case in the 1850s and 60s, there is a substantial number of Maori who are much more concerned to get their share of the good things made possible by the Settler State than they are with restoring the cultural status-quo ante. Winston is the perfect representative of these Maori, and in that role is able to attack “separatists” and their “sickly white liberal” allies with, if not impunity, then a great deal more success than any right-wing Pakeha politician attempting to do the same.

As the bi-cultural agenda set forth in the controversial He Puapua report  becomes more widely known, and uneasiness among Pakeha voters grows, the National Party, Act and NZ First will vie with one another for the “honour” of leading the fightback against separatism and wokeness.

For the moment, the advantage lies with Act, whose leader, David Seymour, is currently fronting a nationwide campaign against the proposed criminalisation of “hate speech”. He is also deploying to good effect the divisive content of He Puapua on the floor of the House.

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National, by contrast, has so far failed to distinguish itself in any of these battles. Inwardly focused, and bereft of serious political talent, the largest party of the Right, to the dismay of its followers, drifts aimlessly: a ship becalmed by its captain’s inability to catch any breeze strong enough  to carry it out of the doldrums of electoral defeat.

National’s inaction leaves plenty of space for a reinvigorated NZ First to fill – if only Winston can find the money required to fund a credible comeback. Money (or the lack of it) has always been Winston’s and NZ First’s Achilles Heel. Time and again funding issues and problematic political donations have figured in the events that resulted in NZ First (and its leader) being voted out of Parliament. These misfortunes have made the raising of party funds an increasingly fraught undertaking. Potential donors could be forgiven for looking upon Winston in the same way aristocratic English ladies once looked upon Lord Byron: as someone “mad, bad and dangerous to know”. What NZ First needs is an injection of cash from donors with deep pockets and the skills to deploy it without precipitating another funding scandal.

Over recent years the place to go looking for this sort of assistance has been at discreet gatherings of Chinese business investors and their consular guides. Certainly, both National and Labour have benefitted from accepting such invitations. There’s no point in Winston attending these gatherings, however. Not when, as New Zealand’s foreign minister, he made it so very clear where his allegiances lay. Winston Peters, like his namesake, Winston Churchill, believes in the historical mission of “the English-speaking peoples”. Washington long ago marked him down as an “asset”. Beijing sees him as an adversary. From a Chinese perspective, keeping Winston out of Parliament serves their country’s interests much better than financing his triumphant return.

The Americans, on the other hand, have everything to gain by assisting Winston back into the role of king/queen-maker. With the “balance of responsibility” (as he likes to call the balance of power) Winston could furnish both National and Labour with a plausible excuse for distancing themselves from Beijing. The major parties’ leaders would be able to reassure the Chinese: “You know how we feel, but, what can we do? Without Winston, we cannot form a government. For the time being, we’re going to have to make nice with Washington. Please try to understand.”

To avoid the damaging charge of being Washington’s poodle, Winston and his party could play the Five Eyes card. If anyone can sell the argument that New Zealand’s fundamental interests lie in reaffirming its identity as a loyal member of the family of democratic, English-speaking nations, it’s Winston Peters. Certainly, the enunciation of such a position would be music to the ears of not only the Americans, but also the Australians, British and Canadians. The sort of music that could very easily persuade those nations to toss a goodly sum of money (via appropriate surrogates) into NZ First’s hat.

Nothing would be gained by Winston and his party following their usual practice of attempting to keep the sources of their financial support secret. Indeed, with a bit of luck he could turn the enthusiastic support of New Zealand’s traditional allies into an invaluable political asset. Anti-Chinese sentiment is growing in New Zealand at about the same rate as the electorate’s unease with the Ardern Government’s support for the liberal woke agenda. By casting himself as the defender of New Zealand’s classical liberal-democratic values, and his opponents as the enemies of those values, the moral and financial support of traditional allies might be transmuted into electoral gold.

Such is the nature of political competition that NZ First making itself the champion of a return to the English-speaking fold would trigger a powerful “patriotic” response from the National Party. As the principal representative of the Right, National simply could not afford to cede so much of its ideological territory to Act and NZ First. In short order, all three right-wing parties would take on the appearance of a solid electoral bloc committed to severing the ties binding Wellington to Beijing. Labour would be most unlikely to allow itself to be electorally positioned as the unpatriotic stooge of the Chinese Communist Party. It’s best bet would be to repudiate Nanaia Mahuta’s independent foreign policy and try to pass itself off as the leader of the new Anglophone realignment.

As a way of capping-off the NZ First leader’s career, this returning-New Zealand-to-the-English-speaking-fold strategy is hard to beat. In all the capitals that matter to him, Winston would be fêted as the statesman who brought New Zealand to its senses. For the many honours that would be showered upon him by a grateful Right – both at home and abroad – New Zealand’s loss of the Chinese market would not be counted too high a price.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Winston Peters is just like ALL politicians and ex-politicians: he has NOTHING USEFUL to contribute in the Age of Consequences that we now live in as a result of the plethora of failures of politicians, both past and present.

    Planetary meltdown, financial mayhem, energy decline and species apocalypse are all underway and are accelerating. For example:

    ‘Speed at which world’s glaciers are melting has doubled in 20 years’

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/28/speed-at-which-worlds-glaciers-are-melting-has-doubled-in-20-years

    None of the clowns and criminals is parliament have ANY useful strategies for dealing what is underway, and the vast majority of them are in denial of reality. Winston Peters certainly is.

    Sure, the clowns and criminals that constitute the political core and the inept bureaucracy can prop up the system for a few more months (maybe even for another year or two) via yet more central bank ‘money-printing’ and jigging of interest rates -thereby making our collective predicament worse- until the final whistle get blown on the corrupt and destructive system we have been enduring for such a long time.

  2. 1. Never say never in NZ Parliamentary politics.
    The Māori Party came back as have various others including obviously our Whananāki hero, several times.

    2. Flogging a dead horse is not generally an attractive practice for onlookers.
    National and NZ First (particularly the latter) are increasingly doomed as significant stand alone parties with each funeral of one of their committed supporters. That is not to say the long standing conservative/provincial/reactionary/xenophobic/alpha male sector is necessarily going to drop accordingly–just transfer their allegiance perhaps.

    Winston could easily have gone out well regarded, a senior politician with a warm legacy by simply being on board with the Arden led Government’s programme. Some people in the North who had much regard for Winston over the years, in the end grew tired of his oppositional stance, and the threat of a letter to the Governor General was the end. Shane Jones was disliked all over too despite the PGF fund doing much good work in Northland. Things initiated by Mr Jones seem to be opened by another Minister every other week up here.

    After years of painstaking analysis by pundits of the merest shift in percentage support for this or that party, millions of words on the possibility of this or that coalition Govt. and the absolute assurance from these experts that there could NEVER be a majority MMP Govt.…we now have a majority MMP Govt. Previous tiny tory booths voted in numbers for Labour–I have looked at some of the local figures. At the nearby hamlet of Maungakaramea it was not so long ago, a local told me, that someone voted Labour and there was a virtual witch hunt to find out their identity! So will this “Labour love” be a one off, or is there a genuine change happening? Dunno, but we will be unlikely to see NZ First back again except as a sad rump.

  3. This would be even more of me me me from Winston just to get into power for powers sake nothing else. A bloc of the Right would be hideous for NZ. Not center right either, far right like ACT. Apart from a dwindling group of boomers and the greedy employers, who would want ACTs policies shoved down our throats? Fuck that.

  4. Food for thought indeed. Like him or not, Winston Peters will always be regarded by many as an elder statesman, and certainly one of the best performers in the New Zealand Parliament, which some of us perceive as now tenanted by sex and gender obsessed adolescents, plus paranoiac professional victims capable of seeing racist undertones in the colour of their morning coffee, or in the shade of their sun-kissed peanut butter – and Autumn’s multi-hued mellow beauty, as colonialist-as.

  5. “Winston’s knows well the path he and NZ First would be best advised to follow. It is a path with which the NZ First leader is already thoroughly familiar. Having followed it all the way to the Deputy Prime Ministership and a coalition with National in 1996, he is well aware of right-wing populism’s advantages and disadvantages. Few New Zealand politicians possess a better appreciation of how well anti-Maori and anti-Asian messages are received by large sections of the electorate. He is also aware of how much more effectively these familiar right-wing themes might be “sold” to conservative voters if they were associated with the “evils” of “liberal wokedom”.”

    Ain’t that the truth! And ‘Hold the ladder steady Shane J and Doktor Shane, and Paul Quinn and others. Which is all very fine and dandy right up until the point where they place themselves above the broader whanau.
    Mana? Leadership? Divine Rights?
    The retail politician with the attitude that his bros should just pull themselves together and get their arses off the couch, or Paul Quinn who doesn’t think the incarcerated should have the right to vote.

    In case they hadn’t noticed, its 2021 in the 21stC and Mother Earth is burning

  6. **
    Wrong parapgraph to my previous. Should have been:
    “It is often forgotten by those on the Left who range themselves alongside tangata whenua struggling for tino rangatiratanga and a te Tiriti-based constitution, that by no means all Maori subscribe to their cause. As was the case in the 1850s and 60s, there is a substantial number of Maori who are much more concerned to get their share of the good things made possible by the Settler State than they are with restoring the cultural status-quo ante. Winston is the perfect representative of these Maori, and in that role is able to attack “separatists” and their “sickly white liberal” allies with, if not impunity, then a great deal more success than any right-wing Pakeha politician attempting to do the same.”
    Shoot me now! My fingers are getting too phat

  7. Whatever good Winston Peters set out to achieve many moons ago has long since been superseded by hidden agendas, outdated bullshit, ego, power struggles, backhanders, and big question marks over integrity. In his last years sucking up as much cash as possible, he had a wonderful opportunity to leave a legacy of note. Instead, he removed any and all doubt that he was just a bitter and cynical old politician craving the spotlight who had overstayed his welcome.

    He is the reason NZ does not have a Capital Gains Tax which would have enabled the Government to get on top of a diabolical housing crisis that was feeding obscene inequity in the all-important area. The way he turned on Ardern in the final months leading up to the 2020 election when he discovered his woeful rating had dropped through the floor highlighted just how cynical the man had become. He was no longer witty, sharp or charming. It was a relief that he was shown the door and into the history books. I hope he stays there.

    Ironically, I was once an admirer of Peters. Impossible to admire a man you no longer respect.

  8. Oh my God. Little bit of sick. So many solemn words for a sleazy old Machiavellian. The only reason for him ‘coming back’ should be for facing a ministerial inquiry.
    ‘The wine box inquiry had ( seemingly ) Them’ on a hook when winnie suddenly slithered in and un-snibbed it in an act of classic political confederate expertise to let the slimy eels free. ( No disrespect to actual Eels.) For those of you perhaps too young to remember, I’m writing about the extraordinary events surrounding the wine box inquiry. A second hand computer trader in Auckland came across ‘floppy disks’ containing damning evidence of super dodgy trading practises between certain Kiwi-As companies, including the bnz, if I remember correctly, various bankers and the Cook Islands. The second hand dealer was allegedly drugged then killed. The SIS was seen leaving his place of business after an attempt to find the evidential ‘disc’s’ in question because the dealer, Paul White, tried to extort a ‘finders fee’ from those whom the discs formerly belonged to after learning of a similar case involving citi-bank in Australia and of how a fellow claimed a finders fee after he found very sensitive banking details were found flying around at the local rubbish dump.
    If you’re interested read The Paradise Conspiracy by Ian Wishart
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Wishart_(journalist)
    (Ok. So Ian Wishart may be a wee bit nuts… But who, amongst us are to judge?)
    Which brings me to a pondering. Why might winnie try to make a come-back? With brierly done for, for kiddy porn in his possession depicting some victims as young as two years old, so one can only imagine the wobbly panic stricken trails that lead to and from that greedy, psychopathic old pervert. And then there’s that infamous photograph of winnie doing tea dahlings with Bare Chest brash, the mighty donster and neoliberal governor of the reserve B-w-ank. One can only imagine the dirty little secrets of the riche and classless kiwi-as criminal elite they may have been discussing. They’ll be freaking out at the wailings of the sirens getting closer, ever closer… The shiny-gumboot ex fama natzo goon squad may not be able to protect the rest of the Thems from the merciless glare of the internet for much longer so is winnie on a damage control mission again? It is, after all, what winnie’s good at. Perhaps the only thing he’s good at.
    This great little tune just keeps giving don’t it?
    I find it goes down well with a strong shot of Irish whisky and a punching bag.
    Johnny Cash.
    “God’s gonna cut you down.”
    https://youtu.be/eJlN9jdQFSc

  9. I’ve just had another look at the photograph of winnie….
    A carefully staged studio shot? And that look in winnie’s eys? He doesn’t want to be there…!

    • One more, one more thing…
      Stuff.co.nz …
      “A wine box, a deep throat and a dumpster – the trail that led to the NZ First donations scandal”
      Matt Shand
      05:00, Nov 24 2019
      https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/117650875/a-wine-box-a-deep-throat-and-a-dumpster–the-trail-that-led-to-the-nz-first-donations-scandal
      We should remember or ponder or kick the cat to is that, in my opinion, winnie’s a tool. A mechanism our very own deep state use to obfuscate just how they lever money out of our society and into their pockets. A particularly vital and urgent little tool when considering the unfortunate and embarrassing scenarios of the above Stuff report and The Wine Box Inquiry debacle that nearly did our cadre of crooks in.
      Please? Gods and Aliens? Please? Grant me sufficient time on Earth to see the scum dragged off to prison?
      And a dear and warm thank you to The Daily Blog for allowing me (us) to have my (our) voice.

  10. Historically NZF was the party of firearms owners – they used to always have booths up at deerstalkers club meetings and places like that. After NZF voted for more gun control and gun registration in the wake of the Christchurch shootings those voters have all gone to Act.

    Although only a small proportion of the population, such people tend to have long memories and be very politically motivated – they vote to try and retain their sport. I think NZF will have a very hard time winning them back, and that small percentage could make the difference between getting to the 5% threshold and not.

  11. Winnie refuses to go gently into that good night, & rages, rages, rages against the dying of the light? Well Winston Peters time in the Political light is OVER & its doubtful the Voters will enable his return, because this Man, was always guided by his own ambition & self interest & he never had anything useful to offer! The man was a cantankerous, old, pain in the ass, a Political mercenary & oddity who thrived on negativity, adversity & pitting people against each other? NZ First was really a Winston First Party & NZ came second! Eventually, every Politician comes to the realisation that the gravy Train has ended & their time in Politics has ended? Time & tide waits for no man & unfortunately for Peters, he hasn’t or refuses to see the writing on the wall that his Political career is finished! Didn’t he get the “please go away” MEMO from the Voting public at the last Election? Enjoy your Retirement Mr Peters, at 76 yrs old, I’m sure you deserve it?

  12. Star Wars tried this with Palpatine. Massive fail.
    Don’t go there Winnie – besides, a fair chunk of your voter base won’t make the four years between polls.

      • Fair cop – shouldn’t comment when sleep deprived.
        So that should have read “fair chunk of your voter base won’t make the THREE years between polls”.
        Thanks for pointing that out seer.
        Sheesh, it’s worse than I thought 🙂 These NZ First supporters are dropping like flies.

  13. There might be space for a party like NZ First, but I doubt a Winston Peters led party can occupy that space anymore. A centrist/leftish voter may remain loyal to the current Labour party because they find the Greens unpalatable, but could have been tempted by a NZ First that did put New Zealand first and not the egos of Peters and Jones.

    Peters burnt his National-leaning support by choosing Labour after the 2017 election. He then eroded his more pro-Labour supporters by proudly being the “handbrake”. The path back into parliament at the 2020 election would have been as a reliable partner to the now popular Ardern government. Instead he reverted to type and attacked everyone, including the government he was part of. Shane Jones’ indifference and arrogance only made things worse.

    Winston Peters sold a message to the voters that he was “willing” to work with either side of parliament. Now I’m not sure he has anyone willing to work with him.

  14. Much as we need an alternative to progressive neoliberalism, and much as we need someone to talk back to “sickly white liberals” (well put) and the demagoguery of the so-called Māori Party, it ain’t gonna to be Winston. Too much baggage.

  15. Winston has arguably been the most influential Nz politician for 40 years.I doubt he would be bothered to rise again .

    Interesting times ahead….the Greens and ACT on a roll.

  16. Winston Peters’ popularity with Seniors still remains high. He was the mastermind behind the Gold Card after all but he is also being seen as a nuisance or a relic of the past by the younger generation.

    His plan to exempt fresh fruits and vegetables from Goods and Services Taxation was popular. We do need to address GST in some way going forward, the current rate of fifteen percent being perfectly acceptable in times of surplus but a hindrance to economic growth in times of global economic crisis or global pandemic.

    Winston Peters’ glory was his involvement in exposing corporate fraud, cronyism and corruption in New Zealand’s history in the late eighties and early nineties with the Winebox Inquiry and such. Although it catapulted him to the limelight and he has served as Deputy Prime Minister of this nation, the results were actually rather minimal. There weren’t too many blokes who were stripped of their knighthoods, and the fines and associated financial penalties were small in comparison to the profits. Tax Havens are still in use today by major US and UK Corporations, amongst other countries. The prison sentences were largely reserved for the middle men. The businessmen at the top of the pyramids largely avoided jail time.

    In conclusion, I would opine that Winston Peters is indeed a miracle of the past, with limited vision for the future. The young are turning to our current Prime Minister, although some are tiring of her already. Judith Collins has not cut a particularly impressive presence. The future of New Zealand politics is currently appearing dim.

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