What’s up with NZF?

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, September 15th, 2017 - 24 comments
Categories: election 2017, nz first, winston peters - Tags:

Morning Report have been doing a series of 30 minute interviews with the main politicians in the election (Shaw is up this morning). Yesterday Guyon Espiner interviewed Winston Peters. It’s a stunning interview, but not in a good way.

The Spinoff did a transcript synopsis, which is funny. But it’s not funny really, because it was an utter mess. This is a party that may still hold the balance of power in government, and this is a man who will want a Ministerial position, and he stumbled through the interview in chaos. Here’s an example of the general tenor,


Where he admits that his website is out by over 2 billion dollars on a key policy.

You want to take GST off food.

No. Off basic food. There’s a huge difference you see. Our food, you get a huge bill off basic food, you’re talking to somewhere in the zone of 600-700 million dollars.

But it’s a 3 billion dollar policy. It says that on your website.

No, no, it’s a 3 billion dollar policy, somebody costs it out they way they’ve costed it, it’s GST –

But that’s what it says on your website.

No, no.

No, it does.

Well it might say that on our website, it should have been corrected, but I can tell you now –

Aw come on.

Excuse me.

Come on mate. How are voters supposed to know when they look at your website and they see it there?

Well I admit it’s a mistake and I had a discussion with my team about two days ago about correcting that because they said ‘is it on food?’ and I said ‘no, it’s on basic food’.

The whole interview was like that, very little of it making sense. This wasn’t just Peters’ usual obfuscation to control the narrative, it was like he really didn’t know what he was talking about. Let’s not forget Peters made a point of hammering Labour on policy detail and costings this week. It’s mindboggling that he would come into a major interview so unprepared.

I’ve not made any bones about my opinion that despite some of the good things he has done Peters has largely been a negative influence on NZ politics. I don’t write about this much, because I believe that NZF voters have a right to representation and it’s possible that Labour and the Greens will have to work with Peters in government. Peters may be a consummate power monger who’s held NZ to ransom over his centrist positioning for 2 decades, but this is the first time I’ve found myself thinking of Peters in terms of incompetency.

I did manage to glean two things from all the mess. One is that Peters has no bottom lines (!).  The other is that he still intends to talk to the party with the largest vote first. Even if that’s now Labour instead of National it’s a scary thought.

The other somewhat shocking NZF news story this week was an iwi/kiwi speech from one of the NZF candidates. From Newshub,

New Zealand First candidate Kym Koloni  who is number 38 on the party list, told the audience at a “Meet the Candidates” event in Northcote, Auckland on Monday evening that NZ First is the only “colour-blind” party.

She used the slogan “we want Kiwi, not iwi” – a phrase used by former ACT and National Party leader Don Brash, who now fronts Hobson’s Pledge, a lobby group calling for so-called “colour-blind” policies.

During her speech, which was streamed by the North Shore Times, Ms Koloni said, “No living people, black or white, are responsible for what other black or white people did many generations ago. NZ First is the only party that is colour blind.”

She went on to say, “NZ First wants to scrap race-based policies. NZ First wants to scrap the Waitangi Tribunal. NZ First wants to remove Resource Management Act iwi clauses.”

Earlier on Facebook she managed to make Gareth Morgan’s tell it like it is metaphorical sexism look almost benign.

Peters said she would be spoken to about the speech, and then later laughed it off as her being 38th on the list and the media subsequently left it alone. Which might be ok except how did NZF end up with a Pauline Hanson in its ranks? And which bits are the inaccurate ones? Because we know NZF policy is to have a referendum on the Māori seats and that Peters is running an active race-based dog whistle campaign. Is there a reason NZF got off so lightly on this? Parties are allowed some mistakes with their low list candidates, the problem here is that her speech did sounds like it could be something NZF would do.

Anyhoo, for those of us that want a change of government. I wrote a post the other day about the fact that NZF could still choose National, so it’s a risk to vote for them. I guess the ideal here is that NZF voters vote Labour and Labour voters vote Green and then we get a L/G government. The message remains the same – if you want a change of government vote Labour or Green, and if you want a progressive government then party vote Green to keep the influence out of NZF’s hands.

Btw, for anyone wanting to vote NZF on 1080, a couple of points. One is that it’s unlikely to be a high priority in coalition negotiations (not least because NZF’s policy is vague). The other is that the Greens have a commitment to decrease 1080 use (PDF) – “in general, and wherever practical, support replacing poisons with humane and safe biological and physical controls.” Just saying.

24 comments on “What’s up with NZF?”

  1. Incognito 1

    Only a twisted mind twists the meaning of words to twist the minds of others. This leaves open the question whether it is accidental or deliberate but I reckon this distinction cannot be made when faced with a truly twisted mind; it all blurs into one big garbled mess.

  2. Joe89 2

    “Our story of bus drivers reveals the existence of the proverbial elephant in the room. It shows that the living standards of the huge majority of people in rich countries critically depend on the existence of the most draconian control over their labour markets – immigration control. Despite this, immigration control is invisible to many and deliberately ignored by others, when they talk about the virtues of the free market.”
    ― Ha-Joon Chang, Twenty-Three Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism

  3. roy cartland 3

    I loved that interview. Winston actually said that instead of asking him to clarify his policies, you should ask your grandmother. No really, he actually said that.

    • Bearded Git 3.1

      Toby Manhire today in the Herald:

      “What kind of a question is that? With the greatest of respect you have no idea. And I’ll tell you something else. If you have difficulty understanding, ask your grandmother. That’s right. I’ve got your grandmother in my boot.”

    • Brigid 3.2

      No he didn’t.
      He told Espiner to ask his grandmother what ‘basic’ meant. Because Espiner repeatedly asked Winston to explain what it meant.
      In my opinion Espiner’s interviewing was appalling and he behaved like a complete twat. As Winston said Espiner has no knowledge of economics so isn’t fit to criticise NZF policy, a trait common among journalists.
      Winston behaved as Winston does; arrogant and irritable.

      He did make one good point though, and that was, that funds for building state houses would come from the Reserve Bank, not off shore banks.
      I think this went right over Espiners head, because he is ignorant of the concept.
      Its a shame Winston is such a megalomaniac, I may have voted for him on that policy alone.
      But alas, he’s too damned loose.

      The whole interview sounded like a school yard scrap, but if Espiner had the skills he wishes he had it wouldn’t have been.

  4. Bearded Git 4

    Good post Weka…contrast the awful interview of Peters yesterday with the excellent and intelligent interview of James Shaw on Morning Report this morning. Glad I party voted Green yesterday.

    Shaw was able to point out that Peters/NZF have made promises of $10 billion but have not shown how increased revenue or cuts to other expenditure will be found to finance this.

    Peters can handle 5 minute interviews with bluster but 25 minute interviews with someone like Guyon Espiner show what a shallow policy platform NZF has.

  5. Phil 5

    how did NZF end up with a Pauline Hanson in its ranks?
    …Peters is running an active race-based dog whistle campaign.

    You’ve done a great job of answering your own question.

    • weka 5.1

      maybe, but I still thought NZF was better than this. It’s possibly she bluffed her way through the selection process I suppose. Or maybe NZF weren’t that stringent in selecting.

      • Phil 5.1.1

        I still thought NZF was better than this.

        What, from the last 20 years, has given anyone cause to believe NZF (i.e. Winston) is ‘better than’ being a dog-whistling, racist, asshole? That’s his entire modus opernadi.

  6. Michael 6

    I expect Labour to do the decent thing after 23 September and spurn Peters, even if it costs them the baubles of office. Tui billboard ad?

  7. Darth smith 7

    James shaw like jacinda representso a generational shift its time to hand over the mantel

  8. Zeroque 8

    That was really funny!

  9. Once was Tim 9

    I think maybe Winnie was having a bit of a stroke.
    Probably better if someone like Tracey, or Ron Mark had fronted.
    We can all probably understand a pollie getting pissed off with the supercilious and pompous shit, and gotcha mentality at times (and I sincerely hope Winnie doesn’t blow out at some lowly website minion), but my advice would probably be that Winnie should take up the fags again – lesser of two evils

  10. Tanz 10

    The media are anti Winston and he knows it and he plays to it. They forever try to trip him up, hence probably why he did not attend the multi-party debate last week.
    They are not his friend or ally as they are to a certain someone, any more than they are to Bill English, and so he does not play the media game.

  11. eco maori 11

    Winston not a happy man is he well we cant have him fucking up OUR future can we.

  12. boggis the cat 12

    Looking at the polls, it appears that NZ First are bleeding support. It would be interesting to know where that is going: back to National, or over to Labour? Seems unlikely to be the Greens.

    In any case, this looks likely to be Winston’s last hurrah, and it is starting to appear unlikely that he’ll get to be kingmaker again.

  13. Tanz 13

    NZ First always gains support in the dying days and on the special votes. I am sure his numbers will rise, and that he will most likely be Kingmaker. He held a meeting on the North Shore last weekend, more than one thousand attendees, and was very lively etc.
    Winston looks his cheeky self and seems as fit as a fiddle.
    It’s dangerous to write him off too soon, ever.

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