A footnote to history

Written By: - Date published: 3:06 pm, November 6th, 2011 - 30 comments
Categories: nz first - Tags: ,

If anyone ever writes a book on the short, inglorious history of the New Zealand First Party, today’s announcement will make an interesting footnote.  Here’s Tracy Watkins at Stuff:

NZ First rules out working with other parties

NZ First leader Winston Peters says the party will remain on the Opposition benches and refuse to support either of the two main parties if it is reelected to Parliament.

In a speech to be delivered to party faithful in Auckland today, Mr Peters all but killed any hope of Labour stitching up a minority government with his support if NZ First passed the 5 per cent threshold, saying he believed that the party that got the most votes should try to form the next government.

“New Zealand First is not going with National. New Zealand First is not going with Labour either. We are making that clear here today.

NZ First would not countenance a deal that involved the Greens or the Maori Party.

“So all those people lumping us in with groups and making us part of some fictitious coalition should stop right now.”

Why would anyone vote for a party that is never going to be in government?  Their policies are irrelevant if all they can ever do is oppose.  Not that it matters, because on 1.5% support NZF were toast anyway, but seriously, way to make your party irrelevant Winston.

30 comments on “A footnote to history”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Looks like he is after the protest vote. Not sure that will get him over 1.5% however.

    • Jim Nald 1.1

      ‘Tis a pity
      Wee Winston has worked through
      almost all the Karma Sutra positioning of MMP coalition building
      And now his last political orgasm:
      La petite mort.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Yeah, completely pointless voting for NZ First now.

  3. mikesh 3

    Interesting. Such a stance, if he makes it back into parliament, could allow the formation of a minority government – either National, or Labour/Green. However he would still be able to block a few things: eg asset sales, in the case of National, or Labour’s superannuation intentions. And if a government of either shade does anything too egregious he would presumably support a no confidence motion.

    I admire his stance, and I rather hope he succeeds. I admit it would be a blow for Labour though.

  4. Hes handed the election to National.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    It’s a fairly obvious ploy to get 5%. “Labour can’t win, National must be restrained, save our assets, stop the Maori Party, etc …”.

    “Ruling out” means nothing. We get the same posturing every 3 years, and yet, nobody ever walks away from the prospect of power, post-election. The closest we’ve ever been to a principled stance was Clark insisting on Cullen as her Finance Minister in 1996. So Peters went with Bolger instead.

    In 2005 Tariana Turia ruled out Brash, and then sat down with him afterwards. It came to nothing (Helen had the numbers) but still, they talked. And Winston ruled out Nat/Lab in 2005 (“no baubles”) and then pretended he hadn’t joined the government afterwards.

    It’s language versus arithmetic. One can be re-invented, the other can’t. The numbers will beat the words.

    If NZ First get 5% he will support Labour on confidence and supply. He can call it anything he likes, all you need is a dictionary and chutzpah. “Constructive oppostion”, “statesmanlike leadership”, blah blah.

    But they won’t get 5%, so we’ll never know.

    • mikesh 5.1

      He may not support Labour on confidence and supply. He may abstain on any confidence motion, or support whichever party forms a government.

  6. QoT 6

    Why would anyone vote for a party that is never going to be in government?

    Um, because in MMP parties don’t have to be in government or formal coalition to have influence? Because one might strongly believe in the role of a firm, vocal, bolshy Opposition which holds the government to account? Because the idea of Winston actually refusing (for once, some might add) to deal in title and portfolio and “baubles of power” in favour of sitting on the back benches causing a fuss is a fairly entertaining one? Because we don’t have a “no confidence in any of these wankers” option on our ballots?

    Gosh, look at all those reasons. It’s almost like politics is about more than who can cram the most legislation through when it’s their turn with the reins.

    • felix 6.1

      Yep, and your third reason would be almost enough to convince me to vote for the old bastard if I didn’t have anything better to do.

  7. Irascible 7

    Anyone notice the negative spin in Watkins’ story? Am I being too sensitive to notice that Labour would “Stitch up” a coalition rather than negotiate, come to an agreement to form or any other neutral phrase to describe the process of forming a government in an MMP environment. I find that all too often in NZ journalism the pejorative is used to describe an action by Labour and a positive is used to describe an action by the Key-ACT party.
    Winston is, as usual, playing coy when it comes to committing himself and his Party to a position post election. However, in this case, we may be waiting for Lazarus to rise post 26th November…

    • RedLogix 7.1

      I find that all too often in NZ journalism the pejorative is used to describe an action by Labour and a positive is used to describe an action by the Key-ACT party.

      It’s one of a handful of routine methods used. If it’s done correctly most people really don’t notice, which is the secret of it’s success and effectiveness. In this case for instance the hack concerned carefully only laid the negative onto Labour, while being quite neutral about National. This was not an accident, it was conciously constructed this way to reduce the chances that most people would notice.

      However once you start to see it…

    • jingyang 7.2

      Yep, I noticed the spin in her story. I made the mistake of reading her column for several weeks in a row – she’s basically a righty, is more concerned about writing about the ‘spectacle’ of politics than what anyone is actually doing; is a poor analyst even so; and is a poor writer full-stop. About on the level of a 1st year political science student writing in a student newspaper.

  8. ak 8

    Extremely interesting. Brash played the race card first (for a second time), but it’s been trumped by dead babies’ identities, waccy baccy, other assorted asylum antics and a media keen to keep distance between the nutters and Mr Nice.

    Winnie, on the other hand, learned media truth the hard way and now works the halls. To perfection. A 1% poll became 4.7 on the night last time. Despite incredible odds. This time it’s different.

    He’s the Winebox King, as the fatcats eye our asses. The warrior from way back, the devil we love. The maori with the right to tell it straight. The third of two evils, in worrying times. With definite balls, in a groin of steel. In a field of fools, with wolves at the fence.

    The shriller the shrieks from the boy and the geek

    And the bigger the mess from foreign finance

    The brighter the sight of an old flame and rake

    The warmer the thought of a last, close dance.

    It’s all on for young and old. Watch the media panic as they hound Goff relentlessly to rule him out.

  9. Policy Parrot 9

    Interesting stance by Winston Peters.

    This could be an indication that he intends NZ First to abstain on confidence and supply, so if no bloc gains a majority, the dominant bloc will be forced to always govern from a minority position, and consult NZ First on all bills. Anything they don’t like will be forced to be dropped (like Asset Sales).

    However, this stance is probably not clear enough (if indeed this is the case) to convince some otherwise pro-National voters (say opposed to Asset Sales, foreign farm ownership) to jump the fence over to NZ First – and there is also the danger that the dominant bloc will simply refuse to work with him at all, instead seeking accommodation with either the Greens/Act, depending on who leads the government – or after a limited period, citing obfuscation – seek a new mandate (election).

    • Huginn 9.1

      Wow!
      Winston Peters in opposition would potentially have Key limping and quacking from one minnit to the nek with no hope of asset sales. A Pyrrhic victory for John Key.

      Has anyone else noticed how closely the speech Peters made in March anticipated the concerns of the Occupy movement?

      A hell of a speech

  10. chris73 10

    I’d vote Labour before I voted Winston First, hell I’d vote the Greens before winnie

  11. anne 11

    Hmmm, what was he thinking,he has shot himself in the foot if he wants to get into parliament,he would have been better off to keep his options open,working with other parties is a part of mmp,he has shut the door and yes he will loose votes because of that.

  12. Shazzadude 12

    Great move. People have been very disappointed with Labour’s performance in opposition-how on earth did Tony Ryall get a free run this year-he’s the minister of HEALTH-one of the most controversial portfolios there is. And why hasn’t Cunliffe made more of an impact?

    People now know that a vote for Winston is a vote for some strong steel in opposition.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Man I’m very disappointed with YOUR performance. This place desperately needs better trolls.

  13. Salsy 13

    My feeling is that something filthier than Epsom is going on – How did the Nats get hold of Winstons balls ?

    • Shazzadude 13.1

      Given Winston has been attacking National the last 6 years and has given Labour a fairly easy go, how on earth does that strategy work?

      I’ve always thought Labour’s best chance of governing was LAB/GRN/MRI or Mana. LAB/NZF would only work if they could govern by themselves or with UF.

  14. tsmithfield 14

    Don’t worry my lefty friends. Remember, this is the guy who wasn’t seeking the baubles of office either. I suspect IF he gets in (big IF) the he will go skulking off to Phil Goff for a deal if Labour is in a position to form a government with NZ First support.

  15. Tanz 15

    Thought he was brilliant, funny, entertaining, wise, intelligent, un-PC and for good old fashioned Kiwi values.
    Loved him.
    Not all there were the party faithful.

  16. Steve 16

    Labourites keep calm and give your party vote to New Zealand First. Let’s not sulk about it. Winston will no doubt support Labour on policies which Labour and NZ1st have in common. If we a rational about it this is the best shot NZ1st has of getting back which means we will actually see some Labour policies introduced and supported. Regardless of Winston’s stand we still need him if we want to see anything get done. Let’s try being graceful about it and being fair. National forced Winston’s hand here. Winston is still getting my party vote because regardless of ruling out Labour we need him.

  17. millsy 17

    A governing arrangement between Labour and NZ First was only ever a slim, mathematical possibility.

    While the non-return of Winston will be cheered by those idiots on both the left and the right, the fact is that he *remains* the one person, who can take on John Key in the House. And he is one of the few people around who a) doesnt buy into that free market BS, and b) thinks that patriotism is more than cheering on your favourite rugby team

  18. tsmithfield 18

    Isn’t there a fairly major contradiction here.

    Phil Goff has been very self righteous in declaring Key a liar. Yet it appears he is still quite prepared to cut a deal with Peters. If he gets the opportunity to do so, he will be hitching himself to Peters who will by definition be a proven liar (again) by renegging on his public commitment not to do a deal with either party.

    • Galeandra 18.1

      “We’ll look for people who are compatible with the values and beliefs that we have to serve New Zealand,” Goff said.

      In other words, Goff doesn’t want media nerds and tsmithfield putting words or policy in his mouth, oh righty ‘friend.’ ‘Self-righteous’ is soooo wanky. Got a thesaurus, have we?

    • mikesh 18.2

      Regardless of what Winston does, Labour can’t rule without the Greens. NZ1st won’t coalesce with the Greens, or the Maori Party either, or Mana. Frankly, I think Winston’s experience of coalitions has left him pretty disenchanted with the whole process. Sacked by Jenny Shipley for standing his ground over the sale of Wgtn Airport, attacked by the privileges committee in an attempt to damage Labour’s electoral chances, I reckon he figures he’s better off on the back benches, voting for what he likes and against what he doesn’t like; and trading his support for the things he wants.

  19. Fortran 19

    Winston will remain the “member” for Herne Bay.

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