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National have poisoned the Peters well

Written By: - Date published: 10:55 am, September 3rd, 2017 - 50 comments
Categories: Dirty Politics, election 2017, winston peters - Tags: , , ,

National deciding to go after Winston Peters was a high risk strategy, and it has backfired on them – Heather du Plessis-Allan: Campaign just got uglier

The week started with the hit job on Winston Peters. There’s nothing as ugly in politics as a takedown attempt.

There’s no doubt in my mind that it was the National Party who ordered the hit on Winston Peters over his superannuation overpayments.

It’s hard to believe otherwise.

At least two ministers and a political operative in the party appear to have known Peters’ private information when none of them should have.

And once it has information, the National Party has a reputation for using it against political opponents.

Deputy leader Paula Bennett herself revealed private details about a beneficiary in 2009. Last year her office leaked information about the chairman of Te Puea Marae. I could go on, or you could just read Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics.

That’s the sound of your dirty record catching up with you National. At long last.

Jonathan Milne: Winston Peters can’t risk going the wrong way at the election

This is the day that Peters has turned fire on National for, he alleges, leaking his private NZ Superannuation information. Leaning back in his chair, he rouses. “You talk about data-sharing? I’ve been rather busy these past 48 hours because people have been data-sharing on me. They’re pretty quick to data-share when they have a malignant purpose!”

“I said in the first instance one would talk to the party with the most votes,” he acknowledges. “But that’s only in the first instance. The reality is, the first phone-call may not come from the party with the most votes. That doesn’t mean you say, sorry, I can’t take your call because I’m waiting for a call from someone else. It’s only a rule of thumb and a very loose one at that.”

Peters and the NZ First board may refuse to say. But there can be little doubt that the prospect of allying with a fresh and resurgent Labour Party must be more appealing than propping up a fourth term National government led by those he believes tried to politically assassinate him this week.

Peters holding the balance of power is still an ugly scenario – vote Green Labour. But if he does, the odds of him going with tired dirty nats went way down this week.

50 comments on “National have poisoned the Peters well ”

  1. Ad 1

    They would have been smarter taking out the Greens. Take Labour out by doing so.
    Glad they didn’t.

    National cut their own throat.

    • lprent 1.1

      They appear to me to have already tried that.

    • Union city greens 1.2

      “They would have been smarter taking out the Greens”

      They probably didn’t see the need seeing you’re doing such a fine job at it.

    • Carolyn_nth 1.3

      I’ve been thinking about who benefits from taking out Peters, especially if it was, as seems most likely, a National hit?

      I’m thinking it is an attempt to take out Peters, but not NZ First.

      I’m also thinking the Nats would probably prefer to work with a Shane Jones led NZF, than one led by Peters.

      It may be a long term strategy, given that the Nats have eaten all their allied parties in the last 9 years.

    • Look how eating its coalition partners worked out for National, Ad. It’s better to have a stable ally.

      • Ad 1.4.1

        Labour have been eating their prospective partners support even more severely than National. NZ F and G look v unstable in support. Labour is lucky Maori Party is still good for 2 even if Fox goes.

  2. Anne 2

    It’s interesting that more and more journalists appear to be coming out and slam dunking this government. I have sometimes wondered in recent years whether they were too scared to reveal their true thoughts for fear of being run over and left languishing in a gutter by the Nat. Govt.

    It’s no coincidence that those who did stick their necks above the parapet (eg. Nicky Hager, Martyn Bradbury) found themselves the victims of ‘unfriendly police fire’ among other things.

    • garibaldi 2.1

      I am more inclined to think they (journalists) are just doing as their paymasters dictate, which means “big business” are allowing Labour to have a turn at pursuing neoliberalism with a slightly kinder façade.

      • Anne 2.1.1

        Think that’s a bit cynical garibaldi.

        Whether we like it or not, there are aspects of globalism which are here to stay. A centre- left government has to work within that parameter, but it can still ensure the kind of society we expect from progressive parties such as Labour and the Greens. It will take time, but they are more than capable of achieving this goal.

        • joe90 2.1.1.1

          Think that’s a bit cynical garibaldi.

          Media capture is a thing, so probably not.

          Maria Petrova of the Institute for Political Economy and Governance in Barcelona wrote in 2007 that voters may not know their true interests, and that inequality may be worsened as a result of media capture, particularly in a situation in which the media is captured by the rich. Politicians will likely be voted out of office at some point. The wealthy, on the other hand, could retain control for far longer, and cause more damage. The rich therefore have more incentive to take control and keep control of the media.

          https://www.cjr.org/watchdog/media-capture.php

        • adam 2.1.1.2

          Irony is a delicious thing.

          “Whether we like it or not, there are aspects of globalism which are here to stay.”

          That has to be the most cynical thing I have ever read.

          • tracey 2.1.1.2.1

            Thought the same

          • Anne 2.1.1.2.2

            That has to be the most cynical thing I have ever read.

            Fine by me. But NZ can’t change the world even if we might want to… and many of us do.

            Might be an idea if some people started to face up to the reality of the modern world and use their time and influence to ensure everybody gets a fair go and doesn’t miss out. But of course, if you and others prefer to fight a toothless battle thus allowing the status quo to prevail (ie. the rich growing richer and the rest of us stagnating) then go for it.

            But don’t come running to Labour or the Greens or anyone else crying when it turns to custard.

      • Richard Christie 2.1.2

        I think that’s a spot on garibaldi.

      • Siobhan 2.1.3

        Spot on.
        The boardroom opinion pieces in the Herald have all been positive about Adern, and that’s not because they have suddenly turned their backs on market driven, profit driven, “Everyone is totally driven by self interest”, Ayn Rand style Government policy.
        Its the boardroom being ‘pragmatic’ about the urgent need for a new friendly face for neo liberal policies before the population has some sort of moment of enlightenment and starts looking around for a Corbyn type figure (if we have one), or goes totally feral and votes in Winston for Prime minister.

    • popexplosion 2.2

      I disagree. Obviously ministers should not have known, but by choosing to follow that thread, not the, multiple of other narratives brought up is a form of censureship. Peters is way older than he looks, he is taking super, his application form has disappeared. He is unlikely to stay the term, likely retire, he’ll be 75 in 2020. This guy obviously likes the rewards of govt largess and one more snort at the trough…

  3. DH 3

    Why would it be an ugly scenario? Peters seemed to have slotted in ok with the last Labour Govt, certainly showed he could work with one.

    He’s a risk to the extent the media will always be on the hunt for Winston scandals but I’d think he’d be easier for Labour to work with than the Greens.

    • but I’d think he’d be easier for Labour to work with than the Greens.

      the Greens and Labour really do have more in common than either do with NZFirst. Still, there’s a hell of a lot more policy overlap between NZFirst/Greens/Labour than there is between National/NZFirst.

      National/NZFirst will never produce a stable government. Not unless National goes back to it’s 1970s policies.

  4. DSpare 4

    That Sunday Star Times piece of Milne’s seems to be an edited version of this longer article that I read earlier this morning:

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/96339415/the-deeply-private-life-of-winston-peters

    Of the two, I think I prefer the shorter one (even though it is less detailed). The longer has this unpleasant edge of; Peters and his partner want to keep some privacy their personal life? Screw them! Here are as many pictures as I could find of her crammed in so close together that there is barely room for words.

    In 1994 he built his fledgling NZ First with the Winebox as a cornerstone; in 2011, he stormed back into Parliament from the political wilderness with publicity about the recording of Prime Minister John Key laughing at elderly NZ First voters.

    In 2017, he has done an about-turn. He is now the champion of privacy. And he is banking on his leaked overpayments to again make him the kingmaker on election day.

    Peters turned 65 on April 11, 2010. He called up and booked an appointment at the Papakura office of MSD, more than half an hour’s drive down the southern motorway from his St Marys Bay home…

    Out in the lobby there are cups of tea, badly burnt sausage rolls and ripped-open bags of chippies on offer. After shaking a few hands, the Northland MP heads out to join Trotman in the darkened BMW in the carpark, for the drive back to the privacy of their Auckland home.

    Milne stops short of doxing Peters’ home address, but one of the pics of him with his partner looks to be in front of a weatherboard house, possibly a; “three-level five-bedroom St Marys Bay villa” (I’ve not been there, so don’t know if it is theirs). However, it is actually of legitimate public interest if he still lives there, as I seem to recall that one of his Northland campaign promises was to relocate into the electorate if he won the by-election.
    [edit]

    Byelection pledges v performance…
    Move to Northland.
    Mixed result. Peters splits his time between Parliament, his house in Whananaki and Auckland. Most Fridays, weekends and recess weeks are in Northland.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11824139

  5. Richard Christie 5

    H de P writes as if delivering a series of sound bite sized tweets, Mike Hosking lectures us in a similar style.

    It’s hugely off-putting to read or listen to.

  6. Incognito 6

    There’s no doubt in my mind that it was the National Party who ordered the hit on Winston Peters over his superannuation overpayments.

    ”The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts” – Bertrand Russell

    It’s hard to believe otherwise.

    No, it isn’t. Examine the facts or lack thereof rather. If that fails then choose your side based on what fits best with your pre-existing perceptions and is thus most likely to self-reinforce.

    La Coka Nostra ft. Bun B – Choose Your Side – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huv0mHFP5wA

    • Stuart Munro 6.1

      The fact is, to leak Winston’s situation you had to know it. Most people did not know it. National ministers knew it, and so they are prima facie the culprits. Should new facts emerge of course that presumption may be overturned. But it is a reasonable inference from the information we have.

      • Incognito 6.1.1

        Not all leaks are necessarily deliberate (i.e. intentional from the outset) but for argument’s sake let’s assume this one was.

        Indeed, likely only few (??) people had the means, the motive and opportunity to leak this information.

        National Ministers are indeed usual suspects but this does not make them “prima facie the culprits”.

        New facts don’t just “emerge”; it requires active search & re-search, fact- & source-checking, etc.

        It is a reasonable but not an immutable inference based on the very little information we have; arguably, it may not even be ‘a best guess’.

        I guess we will never find out who the leaker is, which means for me that I’ll treat this whole ‘scandal’ with the appropriate level of scepticism & suspicion. Clearly, during this election campaign and in debates politicians are very ‘liberal’ with the truth, which is just the tip of the iceberg that we actually can see – even so-called fact-checkers are suspect.

        • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.1

          It’s not a matter of the Gnats being the usual suspects, it’s a matter of them possessing the information, which has been established.

          Now, it may be the case that Labour’s or TOPs or the Green’s opposition research also turned up this information, and that they released it. None of these premises is established however, so to use them would be conjecture.

          • Incognito 6.1.1.1.1

            Indeed, Stuart, most of what we have been reading is inference & conjecture at best. Fancy words for saying that we know diddly squat. The MoAS, the MoT, DP, DJT, MSM, etc., all work based on this principle.

            • Stuart Munro 6.1.1.1.1.1

              You need to distinguish between credible inference and wild speculation.

              The Gnats had the information – it was possible for them to leak it. They are the best suspects. There is nothing to suggest other parties had the information – one must leave off muddying the waters until the alternative hypothesis is something other than vagrant conjecture loitering without means of support.

              • Incognito

                In other words, don’t have an open mind but echo & mirror what everybody else is saying.

                Clear as mud!

  7. ianmac 7

    Since National denied all Dirty Tricks in 2014 it seems weird that they would risk all in a Dirty Tricks 2017. Mr Joyce what were you thinking!

  8. Upnorth 8

    Winnie will want grant roberston and andrew little demoted and wait for it…Jacinda deputy…you thinking im joking ..read the memo….why because he knows jacinda is not seasoned negoitator.
    This will be fun to watch. Then when labour say no he will hold the country to ransom.
    New election or sit on cross benches and instal national into power.

  9. Michael 9

    The effectiveness or otherwise of the Nat’s takedown attempt on Peters will become apparent on 23 September when we know how much Party Vote he scored. So far, it seems partially successful, although not the knock-out blow that Nats’ were hoping for: NZF’s poll ratings show a drop of a couple of points. That may reduce Winston’s clout but it won’t eliminate it. So a misfire seems to be the outcome of that exercise in Dirty Politics. The takedown attempt on the Greens seems much more successful, by contrast, as it looks as though it will only just scrape back into Parliament, with a diminished caucus. Oddly (or not), the principal beneficiary looks to be Labour, as disaffected Greens voters head back to it. I hope Jacinda rewards the Nats in traditional Labour Party fashion (lots of appointments to publicly funded jobs) if she wins the Game of Thrones.

  10. Ted 10

    Only the Nats had means, motive, opportunity and previous form.

  11. Pete 11

    The only chance for a Winston comeback would seem to be an enquiry which shows National skulduggery or some other scandal breaking.

  12. lurgee 12

    I’d be a lot happier if there was something more than Heather du Plessis-Allan’s certainty that National were behind the smear. Some evidence or something.

    Otherwise I have a grim feeling (I don’t do the other sort) this is going to come back and bite us.

    I don’t think even National are stupid enough to try such a half-arsed take down.

  13. xanthe 13

    I actually dont think it will make the slightest difference to Peters if he should be in a position to consider coalition (by no means certain!) he has already said it will not and he probably thinks its “just politics” . He will consider whats best for Peters when the decision time comes as he always has done.

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