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If I were New Zealand First’s campaign strategist

Written By: - Date published: 12:39 pm, May 7th, 2008 - 42 comments
Categories: nz first - Tags: , ,

In some ways, there’s little to tell New Zealand First, other than let Winston Peters be himself. Peters has been (along with Helen Clark), New Zealand’s most successful MMP politician he has survived and run good campaigns every time except in 2005. He needs to remember to play the charming rogue a little more often, rather than the grump, but otherwise his political persona is fine. And, more than any other party, it is Peters’ political persona that the party depends on.

Peters is never going to change anyway but he should definitely keep the prickly relationship with the media. There is huge dislike of the political media among the public, who see them as preening, shallow, and egotistical. Seeing them getting a good old slapping from Peters is great fun. Hell, after that fantastic interview with Paul Henry in which he mocked Henry as a failed National candidate I could almost have voted NZF myself, if only I didn’t detest their conservatism.

A note of caution: don’t let the public see New Zealand First’s refusal to state a preferred coalition partner as a risk or danger (like they did in 2005, when Peters played around with blue and red cellphones) Play it the way Dunne does: you’re offering moderation and stability, not uncertainty.

Peters should run in Tauranga and put more effort into it this time. 2005 was a wakeup call. Peters cannot assume the loyalty of Tauranga, he has to earn it by getting out on the ground there and doing the hard yards. He will feel it’s beneath him but Peters should take every opportunity to put himself opposite Bob Clarkson, to show Clarkson for the idiot he is and hammer him into the ground.

Policy-wise, NZF should run as conservatives with values, as they always have done. Support better public services and a higher minimum wage, along with sensible tax cuts, not tax cuts for their own sake. The specific policy planks should be different from those either major party will use. Lower interest rates through reforming the Reserve Bank would be a good platform to run on this year, as would an expansion of free primary health services (building on NZF’s free GP visits for under sixes). A third plank for NZF (three is the ideal number of major policies to run on) could be restrictions on foreign-owned companies expatriating their profits. Forget about running anti-immigrant, that faithful old dog won’t hunt anymore, and law and order didn’t pay off in 2005, it’s unlikely to do so this time.

The polls are picking up; there’s no reason to think NZF can’t win 5% and Tauranga.

42 comments on “If I were New Zealand First’s campaign strategist”

  1. higherstandard 1

    He needs to remember to play the charming rouge ?

    I have visions of Winston as Louis XV – perfect for NZ ‘s poodle politician.

    After spending some time in Tauranga recently the people down there appear to have finally had enough of him.

  2. Dim (was dime) 2

    heh lapdog is history!

    its gonna be a sweet day when he gets booted.

    hope he doesnt think he can rely on grey power.. they have a few issues with the EFB..

    now, if we could just get those pesky greens below the 5 % we would be laughing!

    also, can someone start a campaign telling these ex-pats that like to vote greens, just what damage these lunatics want to inflict on our country?

  3. Bearhunter 3

    “There is huge dislike of the political media among the public, who see them as preening, shallow, and egotistical.”

    I take it you have polled every one of the public to come to this view? Or at least spoken to a wide range of people from outside the Labour organisation? Or is it just a sweeping statement of your own feelings on the matter projected onto 4million-odd people?

  4. higherstandard 5


    “There is huge dislike of the political media among the public, who see them as preening, shallow, and egotistical.’

    Substitute Winston for Political Media and him for them and it’s a perfect description.

  5. Bearhunter 6

    @SP: Err, which both? You polled everyone? A few? Made it up? Anyway, glasdto see it is clearly not just a sweeping staetment made to back up your own prejudices. You know how baseless sweeping generalisations can be mistaken for truth among the feckless proles.

  6. outofbed 7

    Dime,, buddy spare us
    I am a Green and, although the following is just a sweeping statement of my own feelings on the matter projected onto number of Green supporters
    We don’t want to inflict any damage on “your” country.

    Quite the opposite really

  7. BeShakey 8

    HS – I look forward to your wholehearted endorsement of WP when he becomes Nationals Foreign Minister (or will he aim higher next time), to be rescinded when he attempts to bring down the National government (again).

    You also seem to fail to realise that for minor parties, being hated by large sections of the population goes with the territory. Note how the more the hard right complains about the greens the higher their vote goes?

  8. higherstandard 9


    I’d support Winston as National’s Foreign Minister only if he agreed to spend the entire term out of the country.

    I hope the twats time has finally come Clark and Key have both pandered to him appallingly in the past few months – how about a bipartisan agreement from Labour and National that neither will give him a Ministerial position now that would push him over the edge.

  9. Stephen 10

    *what* hard right?

    captcha: Colon James (reporter extraordinaire)

  10. mike 11

    “now, if we could just get those pesky greens below the 5 % we would be laughing!

    Agree Dime,
    I think we need to get as much of Sue B on tele as possible before the election.
    She is the Nats most influential MP out side there own party.

  11. higherstandard 12

    On another matter has he declared his parties donations yet ?

  12. higherstandard 13

    Mike surely you’ve forgotten the Associate Minister of Culture and Heritage

  13. randal 14

    new zealanders are constantly crying out for flair and innovation and thinking outside of the box and ra ra ra ra you name it but when they get a live one out of the box the first thing they do is try and squash it…stick that in ya pipe and smoke it ya punks… go winnie hehehehehe

  14. Bearhunter 15

    So you like Winnie because he has a go at Paul Henry? How about NZF’s xenophobic rantings about immigrants? Since xenophobia is bad in John Key (as per the other thread) would he be less xenophobic if he simply slagged off a few journos?

  15. j 16

    “So you like Winnie because he has a go at Paul Henry? How about NZF’s xenophobic rantings about immigrants?”

    I think you forgetting the important distinction that NZF supports labour and Henry doesn’t. That washes away all sins.

    [like i say in the article, I enjoyed that interview with Paul Henry but I could never support NZF because of their conservatism, including their racism. SP]

  16. Tane 17

    j – take a look at Steve’s comments here:

    Peters ought to stop playing the race card

  17. Bearhunter 18

    Err, you said: “He needs to remember to play the charming rogue a little more often, rather than the grump, but otherwise his political persona is fine.”

    Fine, Steve? Fair enough, whatever floats your boat…

    [It’s not what I like. It’s what works politically. look at the rest of the series. SP]

  18. j 19

    To digress, I was talking to a mate whose father has been connected to numerous NZF campaigns in a managerial capacity. He said that apparently Winston has lost his old fire and seems to be perfectly happy with the baubles of office. It’s hard to see NZF outlasting most prominent personality and it most probably looks like the last election they’ll run in.

    And as for running as conservatives with values, have they paid back the election money yet or are they still insisting on donating it to charity causes with no proof or verification?

  19. He said that apparently Winston has lost his old fire and seems to be perfectly happy with the baubles of office.

    It’s not the baubles that have chilled him out, bro. Winston found love. I kid you not.

  20. j 21

    The rot set in years ago when he stopped imbibing whiskey and started on the chardony.

  21. gobsmacked 22

    Bearhunter, if you’d read the rest of the “strategist” series you’d presumably conclude that the writer also endorses National, and ACT, and the Maori Party, and every other party.

    It’s the basic difference between head and heart, analysis and support. Not that difficult a concept, really.

    Anyway, if I were NZF’s strategist, I’d stage a split (scripted, of course). Winston can’t get to 5% by making eyes at Condy Rice. Either he needs to quit the Foreign Affairs job (even if only a month or two before the election), or he needs to use it to find a Defining Issue, and it’s hard to see how he can do that.

  22. Monty 23

    Winston is a first class prick – right up there with Cullen. I will be looking forward to Winston getting his marching orders courtesy of the public come the October election.

    I lok forward to the day when I will no longer fund his baubles. The country have finally had enough and woken up to his egotistical and self serving arrogant ways.

    godd riddence to this parasite.

  23. r0b 24

    G’arn Monty, don’t hold back, tell us what you really think!

    Cullen is a scholar and a gentleman, and probably the nation’s most successful minister of finance. In future decades the nation will thank him for his lasting legacies, the Cullen Fund and KiwiSaver.

    Winston – is Winston. Love him or loath him (and I’m more inclined to the latter), he has chutzpah, and he has made his mark.

  24. higherstandard 25


    A scholar I’ll accept however some of his behaviour has been somewhat less than gentlemanly over the last couple of years.

    As for the Nation’s most successful Minister of Finance history will be the judge there’s some serious competition over the last century.

  25. r0b 26

    A scholar I’ll accept however some of his behaviour has been somewhat less than gentlemanly over the last couple of years.

    There have been occasional lapses, very few I think given the pressures of the job and the confrontational nature of politics.

    As for the Nation’s most successful Minister of Finance history will be the judge there’s some serious competition over the last century.

    Once again my lack of historical knowledge lets me down. I’d be interested in your description of other notable ministers in this role and their impact.

  26. AncientGeek 27

    Ummm I was just thinking through the list – ie the ones I remember

    Nash (ok – its starting to get before even my time)

    Ummm the ones I remember all seem to have certain characteristics in mind. Mostly an inability to suffer fools gracefully. I wonder if it is cause or effect?

    Imagine having every minister or lobby group bleating for more money all of the time..

  27. Billy 28

    Wasn’t Rowling Kirk’s minister of finance?

  28. r0b 29

    Douglas was certainly significant, in that he made a huge impact. But I don’t think you can rate him as the most successful, given how much better Australia did over the same period with much more pragmatic policies.

  29. Billy 30

    r0b, you’re wrong.

  30. AncientGeek 31

    B: Ah you’re right- I remember him as well.
    r: it was more a list of who I remember.

    For instance there was someone after Douglas in the 2nd term afte rthe cup of tea – can’t remember whom????

    I think I really only remember the b…’s

  31. r0b 32

    Wasn’t Rowling Kirk’s minister of finance?

    I believe so yes, not notable as far as I recall.

    r0b, you’re wrong

    So you keep saying – but why? Both Muldoon and Douglas hugely shaped New Zealand, but I think both were fundamentally flawed. Cullen has been cautious and pragmatic, and built real lasting assets.

  32. r0b 33

    For instance there was someone after Douglas in the 2nd term afte rthe cup of tea – can’t remember whom????

    David Caygill

  33. Billy 34

    You’re thinking of Caygill, AG.

    Douglas completely modernised the economy. Remember, before Labour was elected in 1984, you couldn’t increase your prices unless the government said so, or drive your car on a Tuesday.

  34. r0b 35

    Douglas completely modernised the economy

    Yes he did, and yes I certainly remember the Muldoon economy. But just as Muldoon was hugely influential and yet not successful, so too I think was Douglas. We went far too far, and too fast. As he modernised the economy he also damaged it, and he hocked off infrastructure, and that’s even before we start on the social costs. It must be said again that Australia did much better over the same period with much more pragmatic policies.

    Pleasure chatting with you good people, but I must away…

  35. Bearhunter 36

    “Bearhunter, if you’d read the rest of the “strategist’ series you’d presumably conclude that the writer also endorses National, and ACT, and the Maori Party, and every other party.

    It’s the basic difference between head and heart, analysis and support. Not that difficult a concept, really.”

    Well thank you for that and I presume the lesson endeth here? If you honestly think anyone is going to trawl through this site’s entire back catalogue in order to avoid getting supercilious snipes in reply to genuine questions then you need therapy. Mind you, when it comes to arrogance there is no one quite like the Labour party is there? And I say that as a former Labour supporter/voter in three different countries. It took the NZ Labour party to make me finally forsake four generations of socialism and if you want to know why, just have a look at how you react to criticism. If it wasn’t so laughable I’d be crying at the death of Labour about now.

  36. Phil 37

    Didn’t Bill Birch hold the finance portfolio as well in the mid 90’s?

    I don’t think Richardson handed the reigns straight over to English…

  37. Felix 38

    If can’t be bothered keeping up with the discussion, don’t be surprised that you’re not taken seriously.

  38. Bearhunter 39

    Ah, I was wondering how long it took before the ad hominem attacks came out. So, I am to be dismissed for not reading the entire site content? Fair enough, clearly the arrogance the government is displaying has filtered down to the footsoldiers. Sorry to have taken up so much of your precious time.

  39. Phil 40

    Sod, “Winston found love. I kid you not.”

    Walked into a hall of mirrors did he?

    (Oldie but a goodie – I’m suprised no-one picked up on it earlier)

  40. Matthew Pilott 41

    Chill, Bearhunter – you misread the article and someone pointed that out. Good on you though, if you take the response of one or two individuals to be a reflection of the entire labour Party, and the global socialist movement in general. You’re actually signalling that you have no real interest in participating here, which I’m sure isn’t the case. So take it easy.

  41. higherstandard 42

    Ministers of Finance for those interested


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  • Better protection for New Zealand assets during COVID-19 crisis
    Key New Zealand assets will be better protected from being sold to overseas owners in a way contrary to the national interest, with the passage of the Overseas Investment (Urgent Measures) Bill. The Bill, which passed its third reading in Parliament today, also cuts unnecessary red tape to help attract ...
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    6 days ago
  • Cleaning up our rivers and lakes
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    6 days ago
  • Record year for diversity on Govt boards
    The Government is on the verge of reaching its target of state sector boards and committees made up of at least 50 percent women, says Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter and Minister for Ethnic Communities Jenny Salesa. For the first time, the Government stocktake measures the number of Māori, ...
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    6 days ago
  • New appointments to the Commerce Commission
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  • Historic pay equity settlement imminent for teacher aides
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    7 days ago
  • Govt delivers security for construction subcontractors
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  • New Zealand and Singapore reaffirm ties
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  • Government investment supports the acquisition of new Interislander ferries
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    1 week ago
  • Better protection for seabirds
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  • Milestone in cash flow support to SMEs
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  • Government protects kids as smoking in cars ban becomes law
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    1 week ago
  • Parliament returns to a safe normal
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    1 week ago
  • Foreign Minister makes four diplomatic appointments
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    1 week ago
  • New Bill to counter violent extremism online
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  • Mycoplasma bovis eradication reaches two year milestone in good shape
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  • New payment to support Kiwis through COVID
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  • PGF reset helps regional economies
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