Cunning, cunning, Winston

Winston Peters has the sort of low rat cunning that is often missing in politicians these days. It is something to be admired.

His latest idea is so cunning that you can put a tail on it and call it a weasel.

Richard Harman at Politik reports:

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has formally proposed that the position of Leader of the Opposition be abolished.

He has put the proposal to the high-powered Standing Orders? Committee chaired by the Speaker, David Carter, which is currently conducting a review of Parliament’s standing orders ? the rules which govern the way Parliament works.

The office of the Leader, Andrew Little, was bemused by Peters? proposal and a spokesperson said that though the electoral system had changed the Westminster system had not and the position was an integral part of the Westminster system. ?

Mr Peters, however, argues that MMP has made the position redundant.

?It?s a carry over from first past the post,? he told POLITIK.

?It?s Tweedledum, Tweedledee, it’s our turn now.”

He said that instead of having an Opposition Leader each party that was not in the Government would speak in order of the number of seats they had in the House.

Of course Peters is not really trying to make a Constitutional point; his argument is mostly political.

He wants to dimish Labour?s importance at the same time as he makes it clear he is neither for nor against National and votes on each piece of legislation according to what he considers its merits to be.

In reality, everyone knows in parliament that he is the real opposition leader.

This is a not a?subtle dig at Andrew Little and his inept handling of the Labour party. For Little’s part he is now under no illusions that Winston Peters doesn’t rate him and if there is a choice between scraping over the line with Labour or romping home with National then Winston is going to choose National and then he won’t have to deal with the noxious Green party.