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.
— Kera O’Regan – Māori 4 #BlackLivesMatter (@keraoregan) September 14, 2017
Highlights from Espiner’s brutal interview with Peters — Comedy gold and scary as to how ill informed he is https://t.co/lsNH3Hk4WE
— Denis Tegg (@denistegg) September 14, 2017
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,
3. WHAT WILL IT COST #2: GST OFF FOOD
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, it does.
Well it might say that on our website, it should have been corrected, but I can tell you now –
Aw come on.
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.