The farce for the North

Does Winston Peters really care for the North?

The short answer is no. New Zealand First hasn’t stood a candidate in the north since the 2005 election…10 years of not caring.

Rodney Hide also explains why it is that Winston is just playing the political charlatan once again.

The mischief in me wants Winston Peters to win Northland. The upset would be huge. National would lose a seat to New Zealand First.

Peter Dunne would be emboldened by National needing him and Act to pass legislation. Dunne says he would revisit his Supply and Confidence agreement with National – a deal made when his position was less propitious.

It would be a big hit on the Government. Peters would take one of National’s safest seats. National’s election night outright-win would be reduced to two votes short. The smallest tail would wag the biggest dog.

A Peters win would destabilise the Government and power up a Wellington electorate MP. Ohariu would benefit – not Northland. On winning Northland, Peters would resign as a list MP to clear the way for the next candidate on New Zealand First’s list. That candidate is Ria Bond … from Invercargill.

That’s right. In choosing Peters, Northland voters would be electing an MP from Invercargill.

Those in the Far North would elect a candidate from the deep south.

And embolden a one man party. The silly part is Andrew Little and Labour want Winston to win without realising that it empowers the very person they have tried for years to unseat. Bizarrely too Little says that would enable Peter Dunne to stop RMA reform and he sees this as a positive. Little clearly doesn’t understand how hated the RMA is, and especially in rural based seats. A vote for Winston is a vote to halt RMA reform.

But it gets better.

Peters lives in Auckland. Parliament is in Wellington. That’s how he divides his time. Kerikeri is 250km north of Auckland. So Peters is asking the people of Northland to vote for an Aucklander to elect an MP from Invercargill and empower an MP from Wellington.

It’s possible Peters could win. Byelections have low turnouts and provide the opportunity to send Government a message.

Peters certainly must campaign. He can’t afford to do poorly. To come third behind Labour’s candidate would prove too big a rejection.

It will be Labour who comes a distant third, and again this appears to be what they want. Andrew Little doesn’t understand that a distant third will be used as a referendum on his leadership, as a test, one he will fail.

Peters is 70 this year. It’s a long way from Auckland to Northland. It’s even further across the electorate. Peters will be bogged down and busy doing the bare minimum needed to be local MP. I doubt the region will be much troubled by him.

And he would lose in 2017. Northland will return a National candidate in a General Election.

It has been 40 years since Peters stood for Northern Maori. He’s late in rediscovering the north but his campaign is exciting.

I believe he prefers a close second. Winning would be altogether too much work.

Not only is he 70, but he has had 40 plus years of hard -drinking, hard-smoking and long, late nights. He may be 70 but he will be more like 85 on the inside.

Why on earth would Northlanders entertain electing a political charlatan who will barely been seen except when he lights up on his Herne Bay balcony overlooking the Harbour Bridge watching people head North on a road he despises?


– Herald on Sunday