Can NZ First get 5% in 2023? 

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Graham Adams’s review of Winston’s possible political come back makes for grim reading…

With the help of a largely dismissive media, concerns raised in April by David Seymour and then by Judith Collins over the revolutionary report He Puapua were soon damped down. But now Winston Peters has entered the fray — and it became clear this week that he has a very personal interest in how it has been handled.

Peters alleges the report — which charts a path to co-governance between the Crown and Māori by 2040 — was kept from him deliberately despite NZ First and Labour being in a coalition government at the time.

“In 2019 a report called He Puapua came to government but was never shown to one NZ First Cabinet minister,” Peters said. “This report was deliberately suppressed. It was a gesture of ingratitude and bad faith.”

His rancour is easy to understand. The 2017 coalition agreement between the two parties stated: “The Labour and New Zealand First parties will work together in coalition government in good faith and with no surprises, reflecting appropriate notice and consultation in important matters, including the ongoing development of policy.”

The report was commissioned by Cabinet in March 2019 and delivered to Nanaia Mahuta, the Minister for Maori Development, that November. A highly redacted version was released to the public in October 2020 — nearly a full year after Mahuta first received it. Significantly, its release came after the general election when Peters couldn’t use it to his advantage.

It strains credulity to be asked to believe that Mahuta — who was hardly a top-ranked member of Cabinet — could have decided to keep the report secret all that time without explicit authorisation from Ardern, Grant Robertson and senior Maori ministers such as Labour’s deputy leader, Kelvin Davis.

As Peters put it on Newstalk ZB: “There’s no explanation for it. You’ve got one side of the Cabinet, which happens to be one party [in the know, while] the other party doesn’t know. I’m waiting around for someone to explain to me how is that good faith.”

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Unlike her earlier clear assertions that He Puapua had been kept from the public lest it be “misconstrued as government policy” and that it had never been presented to Cabinet, Ardern was extremely vague this week on the question of whether it had been withheld from her then Deputy Prime Minister.

Asked on Monday whether Peters was correct to say the report had been “deliberately suppressed”, Ardern replied: ”That is certainly not my recollection because I usually will recall those papers where they’ve come through and for any given reason they’ve been unable to progress. That’s not my recollection for that paper at all.”

The Prime Minister’s evasive answer leaves her plenty of wriggle room should Peters already have damning evidence to show the report was deliberately kept from him. Ardern was no doubt choosing her words very carefully because she is fully aware of Peters’ ability — honed over a political career spanning more than 40 years — to set a trap.

Willie Jackson, the current Minister for Māori Development, isn’t exactly helping. He said Labour had not deliberately withheld the report from Peters, but that his predecessor, Nanaia Mahuta, had put the report aside because of Covid-19.

Yet, Mahuta had the report in hand on November 1, 2019, and Covid didn’t become a consuming issue for the government for several months.

This week, Mahuta claimed there was nothing “deceitful” about how she had handled the report, but when she did finally accede last October to multiple requests for its publication only 34 of its full 123 pages were released.

Ardern and her ministers may have had good reason to believe they could ride out attacks by David Seymour and Judith Collins over He Puapua — not least because they understood that the inevitable allegations of racism directed at both politicians would be relentless and corrosive.

Indeed in mid-May, after Māori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi had objected in Parliament to what he called “racist” rhetoric by the National Party over its claims of Māori separatism, Collins was assailed by a gaggle of journalists outside the chamber clamouring to know whether she was racist.

The same tactics don’t work on Peters; in fact, he thrives on such insults. In the speech he delivered to the NZ First AGM last Sunday that marked his re-entry into politics, he went out of his way to mock Waititi for claiming the neck-tie worn in Parliament was a symbol of a “colonial noose” while happily ignoring the “cowboy hat” he habitually wears.

The message was clear: If Waititi and the Māori Party want a fight, bring it on.

…NZ First lost the last election because Winston zigged when he should have zagged.

Rather than say ‘NZ First has supported Labour for 3 years and in this Covid crisis, I will stand shoulder to shoulder with Jacinda and support her in rebuilding our nation’, he said, ‘I did all I could to stop Jacinda doing stuff’.

Why the Christ you would put yourself in opposition to the most popular leader in the middle of a national crisis is utterly beyond me, but he did and he lost.

I had felt very confident of Labour + Green winning the 2023 election, but the growing list of policy delivery failures in housing, mental health and infrastructure alongside knee jerks like the bike bridge alongside alienating cancel culture hate speech madness opens the door to National + ACT + NZ First = 51%.

I think the woke cancel culture backlash is going to erupt over the hate speech fiasco and Winston will exploit He Paupau fears with an expertise that will see NZ First returned.

The only thing that could prevent a change of Government would be the mutual hatred between David Seymour and Winston.

Labour need to spend far more time on housing, child poverty, education, welfare, infrastructure, climate change and inequality and far, far, far less time on social engineering vanity projects!

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed, JacindaBlair is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    It’s almost as if the ‘control file’ on her has some very powerful information. Otherwise why does she allow such amateurish actions/behavior from sub par ministers to continue day after day.

    Smiles and kindness only go so far, and SADLY (and to the detriment of her legacy; falling every day LINO are in power) certainly not as far as HONEST Labour values and ‘just doing the simple day-2-day things that the 90%’ers need’ correctly. K.I.S.S comes to mind.

    One would almost struggle to plan to be this bad.
    All that’s saving L.I.N.O is how bad the leaders of the opposition parties really are.
    Seymour is the BIGGEST joke in politics (and LORD knows how come his opinion on almost everything is sort….manufactured consent comes to mind) and Collins is the epitome of a most HORRID person dressed up by the best P.R money can buy, as decent. But even stupid people can see through that PR-lie. Though the UK PR-lie has managed to keep Boris afloat, which tells you HOW REALLY BAD J.C is !
    And Winston is looking more stupid and uninformed the more I hear from him, in areas I follow/study. e.g. Electric vehicles. And I can think of NO better example of the product NOT doing what it says on the label/tin. NZ first my ar&e.

    If ACT are slaves to the gun lobby (re: Martyn’s thoughts), Collins is captive to the people who own and really control NZ, and Winston must have his ‘recent strings’ pulled by the Koch brothers or other oil-money.

    All this is in My humble opinion and not meant as ‘hate speech’……smiles

    • So in NZ we have never had a “gun lobby”, we have 250 000 licensed gun owners who largely now vote ACT due to labour/green being very much the anti gun lobby (isn’t Hera Cook related to an MP?) and steamrollering any input in to sensible gun law.

      Our escalating gang gun violence thus belongs totally to the current government for enabling gangs (up 50 percent and rising) and creating a huge gun grey market with bad law.

      NZ First had a chance to do the right thing for all kiwis with the rushed gun law and stop it, but threw gun owners under a bus and we are all less safe because of it.
      They will struggle to scrape 5%.

  2. Winston did it all to himself last year, particularly with the prepared–though in the end, undelivered–letter to the Governor General advising of NZ First‘s lack of confidence in the Govt. hard to surpass that level of undermining from a previous deputy Prime Minister!

    Winston could have gone out on a good note with a long legacy including Provincial Growth Fund projects and a friendly farewell, or even campaigned on another term if he had fully supported the PM and Labour. But no, he grumped and fizzled. He may plan to come back but who under 50 would ever vote for him?

  3. so the labour party has a report that it withholds not only from her ‘allies’ but also from its ‘subjects’ (after all it is Queen Jacinda you peasants), but its Winstons fault for not doing something.
    As for NZFirst holding the Labour Party back from doing important stuff? H
    ave you watch labour lately?
    How is the vaccine roll out going? – i get it, it is easier to blame anti vaxxers for the lack of vaccinations and possible surges of covid then the lack of vaccinations for people that are well over seventy or are at a health risk, never mind anyone else.
    Mental Health? 5 beds in 4 years for 1.9 billion – is a surplus coming? Will ACT / National run again on giving tax cuts from the money Labour extracted via taxes but then choose to not spend or supervise that the spend happenes (resign Little, you are more then useless, you are way past your use by date)
    Extra ICU Beds for the sick little Kiwi kids and Starship Hospital? Oh, noes, we don’t have the money.
    Pay rises for Nurses? Oh noes we don’t have the money
    Busways for East Auckkland? Oh noes we don’t have the money.
    Our crumbling moldy leaky rubbish schools? Oh noes we don’t have the money.
    Any of that going any better now that the Queen and her posse of dull kninghts and dames is running the show on its own? How much more can these guys fuck up before people are allowed to say they are fucking up without blaming others?
    You can try to ride that Horse Winston for a bit of a snicker and a laugh if you will, but currently the Labour Party has a full majority and it is doing all it can to do nothing. Fuck Labour, Fuck National. Same coin, same mindset, same idiocy to be paid for by the unhoused, uneductated, mentally ill without treatment, kids with broken bodies in an under funded hospital, and so on and so forth.

  4. If Winston gets rid of Shane Jones and goes back to the original NZ values which seemed to be to keep NZ assets in NZ and stop selling NZ passports and residency on mass, then they would have an audience of 10%+ that has not got anyone so far to vote for. Labour and Greens and NZ First after being elected on the above polices that were different from the Natz mass privitisation agendas and passport (and list MP seat) sell offs. Of course once being elected COL then seemed to have become caught up in donations and professional lobbying by foreign groups and exploiters in NZ, while failing to do anything about the free water permits, Chinese dump sites/mass sell offs of NZ land and assets overseas. It is starting to become obvious to communities even though MSM seem to be paid to keep it quiet.

  5. Nah! he won’t get 5% and its time for him to retire he has had his time we need to go forward not backwards. If his party want back in they need a new charismatic leader and they don’t seem to have one at the moment. And we are sick of his Maori bashing.

  6. Can Winston do a Lazurus and return from the dead?
    If he does it will be the ill considered proposals and policies of Jacinda that revive him.
    There must be some, and a growing number of true Labour people who must be wishing he was still there, as the the press depicted “hand brake” but in reality the voice of reason and political nous to hold back the “loon policies” that are coming from Labour over recent days. The Lycra Bridge,slow tram down Dominion Rd at the expense of rural roads and highways, The racial dividing He Puapua document and its separatist agenda, the Ute tax, and now the Free Speech or more particular gagging of opposing opinion proposal.
    These reasonable traditional Labour people cringe at each of these knowing full well that their government is “digging a hole” on each and every one of them.
    They lament the fact that had Winston still been at the table not one of them would have seen the light of day. To keep their beloved Jacinda in power they will give him their party vote to bring some sanity to what is starting to look like a mad house, at this point that may well be the only chance she has at survival.
    She has just “pissed off” to many of her traditional supporters, Norman Kirk’s and Mike Moore’s Kiwi battlers ,who drive utes to work, is of mixed Maori and Colonial DNA forced to choose between “am I a white Maori or am I a brown New Zealander” these people can identify with Winston’s message and are likely to back him
    Or for them the alternative is David Seymore.

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