Deputy PM Winston Peters, leading off the general debate in Parliament this week, had some fun at the expense of Opposition Leader Simon Bridges.
Predicting the early demise of National’s leader, Peters said Bridges had cancelled an overseas tour.
“Just the other day Mr Bridges, who is planned and appointed to go to Washington, which is the annualised tour for the Leader of the Opposition to go to Washington, decided to cancel. Why? Well, he’s too scared that if he’s away—
SPEAKER: Order! Order!
PETERS: Oh, he’s too worried that if he’s away—I can’t challenge his fortitude, but he’s so worried that if he is away, the mice will play. Can I just say this: you know, he should go, because even an inmate deserves a last meal—a last meal. He should go. National is a party of four d’s: distracted, divided, desperate, and divisive. The Government’s a party of four d’s: driven, determined, dynamic, and delightful”.
As government backbenchers chortled, Peters went on to declare he had never seen such a leaderless rabble in this House in a long, long, long time—
“ … in fact, I never have. Can I say that I recently got information about the approval/disapproval rating for the Leader of the Opposition …
” …. What was given to me the other day was the approval/disapproval profiles of four politicians, two on this side and two on that side, and the two on that side are equally as bad. Guess who the two good ones were? Well, modesty, and the defence of the Prime Minister’s modesty, doesn’t enable either of us to talk about it, but it’s all good news.
“Judith Collins, therefore, is not an alternative leader, but she’s lining up, and they’re desperate, and she’s going to be supported by all those top-of-the-town financiers who have tried to contaminate, for the exclusive interests of themselves against the interests of the many, politics in this country”.
Rubbing salt into it, Peters proceeded to say:
“Then, of course, yesterday we saw the performing seal—unbelievable. But here was the real rub—because body language, as every psychologist will tell you, is important—he got ejected from the House.
“Last year when that happened, his colleagues got up and resigned with him en masse. Yesterday, I have never seen such a lonely, pathetic sight as a leader leaving and there wasn’t so much as a murmur or a mutter or even a protest from all of his colleagues. So the Ides of March—or, dare I say it, May—are here.”
Point of Order can’t help feeling that Peters (who in 2005 lost the Tauranga electorate to National) somehow was settling an old score.