Rodney Hide: Can Key dig deep?

He did it. Winston has won Northland. Unbelievable!

I never thought he would stand; I never thought he could win.

It is an astonishing achievement. Northland is True Blue. National’s John Carter used to trounce Labour’s Shane Jones by more than 10,000 votes. Peters cleaned out National. He cleaned out Labour.

He has done so 40 years after he first stood for Northern Maori. He lost back then. He went on to enter Parliament in 1978 as the Member for Hunua.

National began by scoffing at Peters. Northland was theirs. Or so they thought.

Then they panicked. They promised pork. They sent in the Big Guns. They tried scare tactics.

Nothing worked. The 69-year-old pensioner from St Marys Bay took them down.

It’s a huge blow for John Key. He’s a vote down and his Parliamentary agenda is now tougher.

Peters is going to want his pound of flesh. But more than that: Team Key has suffered its first electoral loss. The dream run is over. Peters has single-handedly knocked the shine off brand Key and blown a hole in Key’s aura of invincibility.

Ordinarily, that’s done by the new kid on the block. This time the old fox handed out the spanking.

Key has proved he’s smart. The last election proved he’s tough.

Now we see if he can dig deep. Can he take the loss and build from it? Or is this the beginning of his end?

Key is isolated. ?And it’s too late. ? He won’t act against the incompetence that led to the result. ?He won’t make crucial changes to the people he has surrounded himself with.

As such, yes, this is the beginning of the end.


– NZ Herald