Are you sick of the whole “cup of tea” symbolism? I know I am. None the less, the meeting has taken place, and Epsom has been asked to hold its nose and vote for failed Nat retread John Banks, and with him on his coat tails failed Nat retread Don Brash. The “endorsement” of Banks was, however, somewhat ambiguous:
However the Prime Minister said he would not personally vote for Mr Banks, despite compelling Epsomites to take up the deal. …
However, the Prime Minister indicated he would prefer a National-only cabinet – which means a ministerial role is probably out for Banks.
“Compelling”? Poor choice of phrase! So much for Banks.
Say what you like about Winston Peters (and who hasn’t) – but if he makes it back in to parliament it will be on his own terms, not by grovelling in public for an electorate deal. When Peters announced that he would support neither major party in government I wrote him off – but it looks like the electorate disagrees with me. All of a sudden NZF is up to 2.9% in the TVNZ poll, and on the strength of being margin of error from the 3% threshold he’s been offered a place in the minor parties TV1 leader’s debate on Nov 16th. That puts the cat among the pigeons!
The Nats will be spitting. That’s the oxygen of publicity that they hoped that Peters would never see. If Peters can pull a brilliant debate out of his double breasted suit pocket, he just might pick up another 2% and drag NZF over the 5% line for seats in the next parliament. The Nats’ usual spinsters are already out there trying to drum up hysteria at the prospect. Speaking as no fan of Winston Peters, I’m not thrilled about the idea of his return either. But, as above, if he gets there, he will have a lot more legitimacy than the reanimated zombie that is calling itself the ACT party.