There are rumours bobbing around the beltway bubbles about the state of NZ First.
The party has been awkward in Government, with bovine blusterer Shane Jones regularly putting his gumboots in his gob. NZ First have regularly stymied good policy, particularly if it affects ‘industry’, their codeword for the Talleys group.
Since the lockdown, NZ First has been able to contribute bugger all, which might explain the bubble breaking fishing photo, where the party leader seemed to be trolling the Government he helps lead.
I can understand Winston Peters feeling left out. But it wasn’t a good look.
Yesterday, Peters failed in the High Court to link various people, including two National Party politicians, to the leak of his personal superannuation details in 2017.
He alleged his privacy was breached when details of his unintentional seven-year national superannuation overpayment were given to the media, just before that year’s election.
The High Court has ruled that the identity of the leaker cannot be proven and Peters’ claims for damages and declarations have been thrown out.
That’s got to be annoying for Peters, but it’s hardly a body blow. However, there will be questions about whether the taxpayer should be paying his legal bills, given the brutal outcome.
What might be considerably more damaging is the announcement this morning that the SFO will release its findings into the opaque financial arrangements behind NZ First before the September election.
If NZ First already knew that the outcome was going to be made public sooner rather than later, that might explain their calls for a delay in the election. A later polling date would give them more time for damage control, if it were needed.
My read of the use of the New Zealand First Foundation to collate donations is that it is an attempt to mimic the National Party’s dodgy Waitemata Trust.
Like the Tories, NZ First could be about to find out that not maintaining social distance from supposedly independent donation entities wrong is an expensive mistake, both financially and politically.
Finally, I hear gossip that an email from within NZ First’s inner sanctum has unintentionally gone wider than intended and its contents are not helpful to the party. As always, I take such rumours with a liberal pinch of salt.
However, if there is substance to it, then I think we should be told.
You know, apart from that one time in 2008, NZ First has confounded expectations every polling day. My gut feeling is that this election will be the same and the party will make it back into Parliament.
Whether they really deserve to make it back into Government is another matter altogether.