Consider the people of New Zealand First

Written By: - Date published: 12:45 pm, September 24th, 2017 - 55 comments
Categories: election 2017, nz first, Politics, winston peters - Tags:

As part of getting to know the way local political parties operate other than Labour, I’ve been to a couple of NZ First conferences as well as several Green meetings of various types. But I also tolerated decades of reluctantly turning up at many Labour party meetings to gain an unfortunate level of familiarity with how large political meetings operate.

Most of what people talk about at political conferences and meetings is endearingly obvious, excessively long winded, and always time-wasting. Unfortunately it is often the only way to pick up crucial information. When I am bored at them which is most of the time, I watch people and the social patterns and posturing of people – a bad habit I seemed to have inherited from working in management. It is amusing especially when you can see the observed patterns popping up later in the public’s face.

Bearing in mind the public and even the political reputation of NZ First as being a one man band. I found it interesting that NZ First simply wasn’t. It is a real political party with the classic obstreperous and opinionated know-it-all members, strange and often rather frightening supporters, ambitious candidates and MPs, plus the usual interesting festering undercurrents of factionalism. In other words as internally complicated a coalition as you’d find in any reasonably large nationwide political party.

I’m not the only person to be surprised. Branko Marcetic writing at The Spinoff in “I joined NZ First and went to their conference to find out what they’re really up to”, which is a very long-form account of a few days at their last pre-election conference by a political party neophyte. It gives a clear sense of what the party tends to be like. It will be familiar to anyone who has ever attended a large political conference and is well worth reading.

Now this would be obvious and apparent if there was any free-form social media presence of the party online. But there really isn’t much and it seldom has been noticeable for being more than a few single individuals expressing their own views without much real discussion apart from the usual idiotic tory trolls. What there has been has been ‘interesting’ restrictions like the 2013 “NZ First shuts down social media pages“.

When Winston Peters says as he did last night, that he has to discuss what happens next and gives a barely veiled warning to members and MPs that they shouldn’t start chattering to journalists, then that is the reason. It is a political party and therefore the type of organisation which inherently leaks information like a sieve.

He and the rest of the controlling board of NZ First aren’t interested in having any blabbermouth talkers constraining their negotiating position before they agree on one. They need to figure out what they are going to do, then figure out how to make that and any resulting deal palatable to the people involved in or who voted for the party.

It’s tricky because this is the type of issue that shreds support and causes fracturing inside any organisation. And one thing that always comes across inside NZ First. These are people who want their party to last and survive. It isn’t a one-man band.

 

55 comments on “Consider the people of New Zealand First”

  1. Ad 1

    Well said there.

  2. Ed 2

    Winston’s interview this morning
    Watch from 13:40 for about 1 minute.
    His answer is a riddle, but if you listen it’s obvious its meaning.

    If it’s not obvious, then this is the story he is referring to.

    ‘Winston Peters has for the first time revealed it was someone “very high up” in the National Party who was first to alert him that information relating to his superannuation overpayments was going to be made public.’

    https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/watch-winston-peters-says-someone-very-high-up-in-national-party-first-alerted-him-superannuation-leak

    ‘NZ First leader Winston Peters says he was warned someone in the National Party was “trying to take him down” over a pension overpayment.

    He says he has no doubt National campaign chair Steven Joyce and leader Bill English were passed on his personal pension information.’

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96253961

    ‘Only one winner possible in privacy row between Peters and National … and it won’t be National’

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11913367

    ‘Winston Peters wants heads to roll over his superannuation overpayment being leaked, including Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and State Services Minister Paula Bennett.’

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96338877/Winston-Peters-calls-for-heads-to-roll-over-superannuation-overpayment-leak

    • lprent 2.1

      Yeah, but what do the rest of the party think?

      I’m sure that they are pissed off at someone in National (after all at this point who else could it be?) leaking that kind of information. But I don’t think that it will stop a whole political party doing a deal with another political party. It just makes it harder.

      • Ed 2.1.1

        Isn’t Tracy Martin left?
        And isn’t Shane Jones mates with Willie Jackson?

        • Chris 2.1.1.1

          NZ First will go with National, not because of Winston’s history, both as a conservative or whatever problems he has with current nat MPs, but because of the lengths English and the nats will go to remain in government. We saw that with their bare faced lying over Labour’s costings – even when shown they were wrong they kept up the lie. So they’ll offer Winston whatever it takes. A referendum on the Maori seats will be the first thing the nats will give him. Once they’re gone that’ll give the right the stronghold they need to stay in power forever. The writing’s on the wall. Time to leave the country, even if there is nowhere left to go.

    • weka 2.2

      Lol, good to see Peters taking a half step back on the Māori Seats referendum.

      Double lol Peters telling the MSM off.

      Not sure what the riddle is. He’s implying that National treated him badly.

      • Chris 2.2.1

        Hope you’re right. Maybe he does want to have the last laugh over National? The more likely scenario is that he wants Labour to believe there’s something to fight for so the stakes are raised which National in its filthy desperation will always match.

        • weka 2.2.1.1

          yes, I expect lots of horse trading and for Peters to be doing what he can to gain as much power as he can. But I think that will trump his bottom lines, the ones he says he doesn’t have 😉

      • Unicus 2.2.2

        Never far from hypocracy the NP has excelled itself with the outburst that Peters is “Morally bound ” to support them because they are the party with the largest vote – implying of course that he would be immoral not to .

        This from the crowd who used his personal Superanuation records to attack him and barefaced lies to scare the electorate into voting for them .

        The NP ‘s arrogance and sense of entitlement knows no bounds they truly believe we should all be – including Winston servants of their interests .

  3. lprent 3

    Prosser having a few exit lines.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11925846

    Interesting and rather predictable. Personally I’m rather surprised that many ever listened to Prosser. But thats my personal preference rather than being a political reality.

    I won’t point to where this link came from – looks like the commenter pulled their own comment 🙂

  4. tracey 4

    Given one of NZF policies is to recriminalise prostitution you can see where the potential divide between the party and the Left lies.

    • lprent 4.1

      Yeah, but you expect that. No party’s policies join up seamlessly.

      The same policy would cause problems with a large chunk of National’s MPs as well.

      Generally this kind of thing will get handled by allowing bills to be put forward but by the party wanting it rather than as a government bill and probably not being a whipped vote.

    • Rosemary McDonald 4.2

      Having watched and listened with growing horror at 65+ women making weak at the knees ‘Ooh! Winston can put his shoes under my bed anytime he likes.’ comments and voting accordingly, I too have my concerns.

      Not knowing the nitty gritty on NZF’s stance on prostitution I’m not in a position to say whether or not it would be a bottom line policy.

      I doubt it, somehow.

      Although it should be understood that while it is unreservedly the right of any person, but lets face it its usually women, to do with their body what they will, prostitution has not yet reached the level of respectability where a person (with or without a public profile) would ever speak up and say…”I pay for sex from a prostitute.”

      It may be legal….but it is still not widely acceptable.

      • tracey 4.2.1

        I doubt it is a bottom line but it indicates a very socially conservative underbelly or presence it the party and caucus. More fitting with, say, catholics.

        I had a chuckling tbinking how funny it woukd be if Peters bottom line was to become PM depriving Double Dipton of Decentville the 52k yearly payment of former PMs…

  5. bwaghorn 5

    Stolen from sans cle on om
    ”24 September 2017 at 9:50 am
    What if Labour and Greens decide to wait for 2020 to try to get into Government…. Make this clear (e.g. don’t negotiate with NZ First). Weaken Peter’s bargaining position with National and see what ensues?”

    lab greens should do this , come out loud tomorrow and tell winny he can go with the nats or go confidence and supply for a lab /green gov

    • tracey 5.1

      Because they need to move some of the 46% who voted Nat more than NZF. How will that happen?

      • bwaghorn 5.1.1

        not sure what you mean , i may be wrong but under mmp a minority gov is possible as long as the had confidence and supply votes , or is that only possible for the party with the most votes

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          …a minority gov is possible as long as the[y] had confidence and supply votes.

          Yes it is. That is the definition of any Westminster type government. All that they have to do is to be able to demonstrate that they have the votes for even a single vote. Typically by getting statements from MPs who will support them.

          In theory NZ First or the Greens could do it even with their small numbers of MPs.

          • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1.1

            All that they have to do is to be able to demonstrate that they have the votes for even a single vote.

            Actually, they have to show that they have the votes to pass the Budget which, of course, is where Confidence and Supply agreements come in.

        • tracey 5.1.1.2

          It is possible but precarious

    • weka 5.2

      “lab greens should do this , come out loud tomorrow and tell winny he can go with the nats or go confidence and supply for a lab /green gov”

      It’s an option, but it would need L and G to be in agreement and I haven’t seen L priorities the Greens for a long time. Also, for the Greens, there’s climate change. If that’s their bottom line there’s a chance of getting an actual useful policy in govt this term. That’s gold.

      Also, NZF and Greens have similar MP numbers, there needs to be a compelling reason to keep NZF out of govt. Peters playing silly buggers in negotiations would be one reason, but I think all parties will want them to try a coalition first.

      • bwaghorn 5.2.1

        goes both ways weka i noticed at least two seats labour could have won if the greens had of not run ,

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          Labour and the Greens had an active agreement not to do concessions, so I don’t see that as being particularly relevant. The reason for that agreement is that both parties know that campaigning in the seats lifts the party vote, and neither want to give that up. I don’t think there is any expectation on either side for either party to give up that advantage.

          I was meaning in terms of the relationship, not negotiated things like seat deals. Ardern has obviously kept her options open, but while the MoU did remain intact over the campaign, I didn’t see Ardern doing much to move the relationship forward. Labour made it pretty clear where they stood. Had the relationship been more solid I think there would be much more room for them to negotiate a better deal with Peters e.g. Labour and the Greens have campaigned hard to change the govt and then form a progressive govt and thus we expect that mandate from the electorate to be respected. That kind of thing.

          That didn’t happen though. If the relationship is a spectrum of 1 – 10, where 1 is we’re completely independent parties, let’s see where the chips fall at the election and 10 is we’re committed partners should the numbers go our way, I’d see it sitting at about a 3 or 4 right now. Not at it’s worst but it could have been so much stronger. I’d have preferred a 6 or 7.

          I don’t think Labour did the dirty on the Greens so much as they just decided that power was more important than the relationship. Not my kind of politics but I understand it. There are consequences to that however. One is that they’re less in a position to create a more progressive govt.

          • tracey 5.2.1.1.1

            ” don’t think Labour did the dirty on the Greens so much as they just decided that power was more important than the relationship. Not my kind of politics but I understand it. There are consequences to that however. One is that they’re less in a position to create a more progressive govt.”

            Thanks for articulating it so well. The FPP mentality has exposed Nat a little for lack of partner options and Labour exposed but in a slightly different way.

            I thought Davis summed up the way politics is played lije a game. After being pretty patronising to MP in his girst utterance at Arderns first conference he took the adversarial rather than relationship root. Post electikn he is saying how great they are etc…

            All this play hard but it stays on the field and then we are friends is very blokey and kills telationships. Especially when women are involved.

            • weka 5.2.1.1.1.1

              Pretty much. But this is what lefties chose right? My big disappointment isn’t so much the lowish left vote as the huge number of MPs that Labour have compared to the Greens. That seriously sucks. I’m building up to a post about how if NZ wants the Greens in parliament (and apparently it does), it needs to start voting for them. But we’ve been here many times before and maybe it’s time for a different tack.

        • tracey 5.2.1.2

          Party vote is what matters for bigger parties and that Labour and some of its supporters do not get that is sad. A seat for any minor party guarantees their return and a chance to be a potential partner. Not getting Greens to stand aside does not determine Labour’s existence in Parliament. Greens did stand aside in Ohariu and hey presto door opened for UF to begone. They stood asid in TTT and hey presto Nats embarrassed. Poibt me to any concession by Labour to ensure a partner they can work with?

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.1.3

          And which wouldn’t have made a difference to the number of seats that Labour have. On the other hand, it could have made a difference with the Greens if Labour voters had all voted Green in Nelson.

  6. cleangreen 6

    Besides labour——–” I’ve been to a couple of NZ First conferences as well as several Green meetings of various types.”

    Yes so have we, and it strikes me the totallly different types of expressing their policies come out to at the NZ First vs Labour and greens.

    Labour and greens are softer while we attended a regional meeting of NZ First in Hasings two mnths ago and another NZ First meeting with Winston there at the helm
    as part of this hustings bus tour in Gisborne I found the NZ First meetings were lively and combatant as a “1968 anti-vietnam protest” like we saw in Toronto in 1968.

    We left with a strong wantto change things while the greens wee demure as labour was reallly.

    Labour Policy was strong as NZ First was but the greens was not as stirring as I would have expected of greens because Iwas a green party member for two years from 1999 till late 2000.

    I feel NZ First has depth and abour could pull in some high powered previous MP’s like Michael Cullen or Helen Clark when needed.

    If all three get into a coalition we could all benefit because there are similarities between them as well as the experience that can come from them in an alliance.

    • lprent 6.1

      It sounds like you were at a NZLP and Green public meetings – which tend to be pretty sedate.

      The regional and national conferences for members are usually quite a bit more lively in bits.

      When I attend as media, they usually kick us out before the interesting bits and I have to get some of the gossip second hand.

  7. Bill 7

    Well, he said something about “holding the balance of responsibility” last night ( not “power”).

    So, we’ll see, aye?

  8. Ad 8

    I would prefer Winston in a Confidence and Supply agreement, with Labour and the Greens in a minority government.

    That gives Labour and the Greens more room in Parliamentary process to sort out a functioning and longer term enduring relationship as a coalition. Winston’s sheer personality and skill would be too much for a three-way coalition: he would easily be the best at Parliamentary process in all three of those parties.

    It also gives NZF the chance to shoot down more extreme measures, and also gives NZF breathing space to choose what they agree with, and I am confidence that he would find a lot to agree with the Greens and Labour.

    • tracey 8.1

      Do you think he would do that? He is VERY good at opposition but made a pretty good fist under Clark’e leadership as FORMIN?

  9. savenz 9

    Most of NZ First policy is excellent – and in fact very similar in their goals to both Labour and the Greens.

    They are conservative – there is no getting around it, but then someone has to represent the growing conservative (often elderly) folks.

    These are people who had parents die in wars, lived life before cars were mainstream and who just got on and did things.

    Was just talking to a guy looked in his 60’s, has his own business, works another job and volunteers for search rescue. There are many self less people out there. I doubt he voted Labour or Greens and that should be the take home to the opposition – they need to find a way to bring those people away from National – NZ First is that avenue.

    As someone who has worked in both cities and country there needs to also be representation of both worlds in parliament. The parties must compromise or NZ will continue to be divided by location, age and class.

    To my mind the coalition will work because it represents different ages and groups who have different ideas. It is democracy. Taking the old style attitudes with the new technology to build a real future for NZ, not a slogan.

    • tracey 9.1

      Compromise is about relationships and trust. I cannot see how trust is all that high between Peters and Nats after the leak? Surely that distrust has a price in the short or long term? Long term if they partner with Nats?

    • Wise words , savenz ,… you’re on the right track.

      My dream team would be Labour / Greens / NZ First.

      They would be the most fiery , innovative , progressive and DEMOCRATIC govt we have had for 33 years.

      And what I really like about it ?… they would stick it hard to the neo liberal elites who currently run this show.

      Bit of humour, … Kevin Bloody Wilson

      The Kid (He Swears a Little Bit) – YouTube

  10. Thinkerr 10

    I know we’re all waiting anxiously to see which way NZF will go. Here’s my humble opinion about what would be going through my mind:

    1. I would be remembering how I established a good working relationship with Bolger, that later soured, when Bolger was replaced as leader/Prime Minister. History doesn’t always repeat itself, but it would be at the back of my mind.

    2. I would see an opportunity to act as a mentor to two younger party leaders, at least one of whom I respected for their honesty and determination to run a fair and honest campaign (I, personally, respect both).

    3. I would remember how recently I was made to face the media regarding an error in my superannuation payments that, for most people, are confidential to them. Peters has said he doesn’t believe the media’s knowledge of the issue to be coincidental to the timing of the election campaign.

    4. The most important factor – I listened to Bill English’s speech to the party faithful last night, the conclusion of which referred to a “fourth-term National government”, because I would be wanting to describe my coalition in terms more implying shared government.

    • tracey 10.1

      5. What ” had enough?” Meant to the party

    • Ankerrawshark 10.2

      I have been wondering how loyal winston is to his membership e.g. People like Glynis….who worked for Todd Barclay and then I understand defected to N Z first. Didn’t she supply him with the info on the text messages?

      I am only speculating here but I suspect he is quite loyal to people like That. It would be an appalling betrayal to her if he went with national

  11. veutoviper 11

    I am sorry – this is not a serious comment on the topic but I enjoyed this very short video of Lloyd Burr and Winston Peters last night on the subject of Jenny Shipley, and thought others may also enjoy it. We all need a bit of laughter and relief.

    IMHO there is a lot of water to go under the bridge before things will be sorted out – and there are a lot of matters lurking in the shade that may affect the final outcome of this election.

    I see Jacinda Ardern has stated this afternoon that she is giving Winston space for the moment and will not be pressing him on discussions. OTOH I suspect that English will go in the other direction and will want to get things tied up if possible well before the special votes are finalised and before any of the lurking matters surface or blow up.

  12. RC 12

    So here we are the government could change if Labour/Greens/NZF can put aside their differences and work together on common ground. Here is some off the top of my head.

    Forestry
    Housing
    Asset sales
    Environment
    Immigration
    Infrastructure
    Public Services
    Foreign ownership
    Renewable Energy

    Plenty of common ground there i wouldn’t write NZF or their supporters off.

  13. Incognito 13

    Thanks for this post. I knew very little about NZF and now I do know a little bit more.

  14. rod 14

    Winston’s election boards asked, Had Enough ? let’s all wait and see if he has, Had Enough !

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 15.1

      Yep, Billy is wooing Winston with that one I expect.

      • Carolyn_nth 15.1.1

        Yep. But also leaving the Epsom Seymour voters high and dry. ACT will not recover. Their time is past.

        • In Vino 15.1.1.1

          Wait and see. Until the left see the dirty trick for what it is and deliberately vote for National candidate in Epsom, National will continue to do this rort. One symbolic hologram will continue to give them an extra seat. The myth of ACT will live on.

          • Carolyn_nth 15.1.1.1.1

            I’m left. I did just that. And am now seeing ACT as a lame duck. their time is past. they will be irrelevant for the next 3 years.

        • Thinkerr 15.1.1.2

          Point well made.

          National tells its Epsom supporters to vote for ACT as a strategic vote (nudge, wink).

          So they do.

          Then, about 12 hours later, National says ACT won’t be included in any government it forms.

          Even though the logic is there, some people are going to feel annoyed by the whole thing and be reluctant to play games with their democratic rights in future.

  15. savenz 16

    Please email Winston Peters (Winston.Peters@parliament.govt.nz) and Fletcher Tabuteau (Fletcher.Tabuteau@parliament.govt.nz) with this request ” NZ First state in your trade policy that you will oppose the TPPA-11 because of its investor state dispute provisions and because it will have very few benefits for NZ trade. Please make this one of your bottom lines in all coalition negotiations. “

  16. Sparky 17

    Last night was one of the few occasions I have stomached and I might add “only barely” the MSM coverage of an election in this country. They seem to be firmly of the view that NZ First are somehow compelled to negotiate with the Nats who are “somehow” in the drivers seat based on their numbers. Which ignores the fact that between the Greens, NZ First and Labour who I believe have more in common you have a majority.

    I voted NZFirst because I wanted change which is effectively the platform they offered. An emphasis on NZ sovereignty and self determination which in my opinion runs contrary to the globalist corporate agenda that I believe has been the norm to date.

    I sincerely hope their leader Mr Peters can reach an accord with Labour and the Greens. I’d be appalled if they aligned themselves with National. That said whoever they do side with the TPPA must be off the table and their needs to be legislation put in place to ensure nothing like this NAFTA on steroids monstrosity is ever considered again in any form.

    I think too there is a lesson to be learned from other small parties who disappoint their supporter base as I have seen this election without naming names. Something NZ First would wisely keep in mind for future elections.

  17. Pike River re-entry now inevitable, say families | Radio New Zealand …
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/…/pike-river-re-entry-now-inevitable-say-families

    Justice be done.

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