Jack Tame is outstanding in this interview on TVNZ’s Q and A yesterday morning, standing up to Winston Peters’ bluster and abuse, and patiently coming back to the questions again and again. Peters was unable to answer any of the questions about NZ First policy costings and resorted to derails and avoidance most of the time.
Someone should do a bingo card on what Peters says when he can’t answer a question. A sampling from the interview,
All very spectacle, except this is the man who would be kingmaker for New Zealand’s next government, would want Ministerial positions, and his party has no policy costings. Or even details. NZ First have an ever expanding wish list. Peters said there would be a manifesto released yesterday, one day before votings opens. Nothing on their website this morning.
The bingo card, ‘we have no policy detail’ shambles is bad enough, taking up most of the interview, but a few others things stand out.
Peters played the race card, saying he was Māori and who was this white man to challenge him. A sign of how rattled he was perhaps.
Tame points to a Facebook post from Peters when he was last in government where he said ‘no jab, no dole’. Peters has done a full reversal and is now anti-mandate. Instead of being honest about his change of position and explaining it, he used the Bart Simpson defence: “I didn’t do it”. This is Peters as populist, shifting positions for the political gain and adept at reading where the protest vote is.
Twice in the interview, Peters implies that if he is in government he will go after TVNZ because of this interview. The first time he says it, it’s sounds like Peters’ bluster, but he repeats it at the end clearly.
(From twitter, along with video snips for those that can’t bring themselves to watch the whole interview)
Peters smiled his Peters’ smile, but that’s a former Deputy PM and Minister of the Crown saying that if he is in power again he will interfere with state owned media because he had a bad interview. This is both mundane and extraordinary. It’s typical Peters blather, and it’s serious as fuck at a time when we’re already losing ground in terms of democratic norms.
We have people in NZ organising politically who hate government, some have said they want to hang MPs, whom Peters is now vote-courting and who would love a populist MP to take down the government funded mainstream media.
But this isn’t just the fringe, it’s also increasing numbers of people generally who believe that the MSM is partisan against their preferred politics. It’s a weirdness that both the left and the right accuse the MSM of bias, sometimes the same outlet or journalist is accused by both sides.
Political commentator Lew on twitter,
All your “journalists are destroying democracy by reporting/not reporting on this thing I care about”, all your “just ignore the biased opinion polls”, all your idiot speculations about which journalists hold secret loyalties to whom — it all points in Winston’s direction
2023 Winston Peters. He is dangerous. No longer simply power-mongering and monkey-wrenching MMP. He is actively fomenting sociopolitical turbulence by not just courting but cultivating conspiracy culture and subverting norms. That remains true even if the threat to Tame and TVNZ was casual politicking. NZ First’s blatant right shift and regressive social policies means voting NZ First to temper a National government won’t work. Peters and his party will do damage in their own right.
Oh, and gender critical people? NZ First have nothing for women on their wish list, at all, apart from that two paragraph, late stage, jump on the bandwagon over sports and women’s spaces. Zero policy in 2020 as well. There is no policy developed around gender/sex issues, nothing about how it would work in law.
If you can’t vote Labour, Greens or Te Pāti Māori, then vote for the Women’s Rights Party. A left vote will help us get a centre left government that gives a shit about poverty, climate, social stability, instead of a right wing, regressive, socially and environmentally destructive one. But failing that, the Women’s Rights Party have progressive policy across a range of issues that matter for women. They’ve been rolling out their candidate profiles this week, and they’re impressive. Whatever happens with their party vote this year, if you really need to do a protest vote, voting WRP will help them build momentum for 2026. This is how we effect change for women.
Jack Tame is very good at his job. Winston Peters often is too of course, in a robber baron kind of way, but the degree to which he struggled in this interview should be of concern to us all. They’re miles apart in terms of how they serve New Zealand in an election.