Pot, kettle, Winston

Photoshopped image credit: Lushington Brady.

It?s often said that calamities bring out the best in people. Witness, after all, the countless tales of everyday heroism and kindness that emerge in the wake of natural disasters, not to say man-made horrors like war and terrorism. The Christchurch massacre was not without its heroes, either.

Unfortunately, disasters also attract the self-serving, hypocritical and sanctimonious, who flock to the whiff of calamity ?like bluebottles to a dead cat?, as Orwell wrote, wafted along on a cloud of their own smug. Christchurch, again, is no exception. The worst offenders ? as always ? are politicians who shamelessly use the most shocking of crimes to cynically advance their own sleazy agendas and, worse, play to the peanut gallery by taking cheap shots. Quote:

New Zealand?s Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters on Oz senator Fraser Anning??I could call him a four-flushing, jingoistic moron, but you already know that in Australia,? Peters told Sky News. End of quote.

Anning, of course, caused outrage by criticising Muslim immigration to Australia. As it turns out, this is a topic on which Winston has had an opinion or two, as well. Quote:

(Others) say ah yes ? but NZ has always been a nation of immigrants, (but it) has never been a nation of Islamic immigrants ? In NZ the Muslim community have been quick to show us their more moderate face, but as some media reports have shown, there is a militant underbelly here as well. These two groups, the moderate and militant, fit hand and glove ?everywhere they exist. Underneath it all the agenda is to promote fundamentalist Islam. End of quote.

Speech by Winston Peters, July 28, 2005

But, hey, that was 14 years ago. Surely Winston has changed his tune since? Especially after the bloodshed in Christchurch? Quote:


Peters isn?t backing down over comments he made about Muslims during a 2005 speech. End of quote.

Radionz.co.nz ( yesterday)

As it turns out, Anning and Peters both defended their comments as freedom of speech. Quote:

Anning has claimed a plan to censure him in the Senate is ?an attack on freedom of speech?? End of quote.

That sounds familiar. Quote

? there is a very important link between immigration and freedom of speech ? Many of the migrants coming to New Zealand come from societies that have no tradition of tolerance or freedom of speech. end of quote

Speech by Winston Peters, July 28, 2005

Winston and Fraser have a lot in common, not least the way they?ve successfully leveraged the electoral system to turn a miniscule voter base into national celebrity, and in Peters?s case, the second-highest political office. Quote:

[Winston Peters:] He?s there by pure ?accident (Anning was elected with only 19 direct votes*). It means you have to clean up your political system to avoid that sort of person making it into politics.? End of quote.

?Pure accident?, eh? What were the 2017 NZ election results, again? Quote:

National Party 44.4 per cent of the vote; Ardern?s Labour 36.9 per cent; NZ First 7.2 per cent. End of quote.


*While pundits love to cite the ?19 direct votes? line in order to diminish Anning?s support, it should be noted that those refer to people who numbered Anning first ?below the line?. But almost all voters cast their senate vote on a party ticket.

In this case, Anning?s party scored a quarter of a million votes in his state: 9.19%. That?s more than the Greens, and far more than New Zealand First?s total number of votes, or its percentage.