The prospect of Peters being dubbed Sir Winston is raised – but maybe he would rather plan another comeback

So  who  will   head  up  the New  Year’s honours list?  Speculation  in the  Wellington  Beltway has  centred  on whether  it will  feature Winston Peters.

On  one  side  there  are those  who contend his long career in politics  culminating in his term as deputy Prime Minister  should be recognised with a  knighthood.  Others  ridicule  the  idea.  There  is,  too,  all   that  mysterious finanacial business involving  the NZ First Foundation, which somehow bypassed the attention of the NZ First leader.

Besides, there  is a  school which contends politics  runs  so strongly  in his blood  he  can’t  resist  thinking  of a  comeback.

But  why  might a  Labour  government honour  someone  who foiled  so  many  of  its  policies? Didn’t he block Labour  from introducing a capital gains tax?  Or  going  ahead  with its pet project on light rail in Auckland? And he  stood  in the way  for long enough  of the  deal Labour wanted on Ihumatao.

There are many, though,  who thought Peters  acted  constructively  for  New Zealand.  Certainly  he  performed  well  as  Minister  of Foreign Affairs.  He  restored  the  morale   at  the  Ministry  of  Foreign Affairs  and Trade, which  again became one  of the  key ministries in advising what  was  largely  a  noviciate Cabinet.

NZ First also drove through important re-equipment decisions  in Defence, including the  billion dollar  orders  for  four Poseidon and six Super Hercules, vital  for the  RNZAF.

Look,  too, at the specific  policies  of NZ First. For  example,  Peters came to the rescue of the racing industry with  a $70m  cash  injection which averted  financial disaster.

Although  the  Provincial Growth Fund  was  seen in some quarters as a  slush fund administered by Shane  Jones,  with  little regard for  fiscal responsibility rules, it  did  revitalise  some  worthwhile  businesses  in regions   which suffer from isolation  and the  drift  to the cities.

The  balance sheet  thus  far  has its pluses—and minuses.

Then consider  this:  had  it not  been for Winston Peters  in those  fateful  post-election negotiations in 1917, there  would never have been a  government  led  by Jacinda Ardern.  And  she  would not have had the chance to demonstrate  the  qualities   which enabled her to become  a  celebrated figure  on the global political stage before routing  her  political opponents in  this  year’s  general election.

Those  who  attended  the  recent function for  Peters in Parliament’s  Grand  Hall,  where  he expressed  his  thanks   to  his  staff  and others including Ministry of  Foreign Affairs & Trade officials  who  served  him  as minister,  noted  the warmth  in the  remarks  of  the  Prime Minister.

There  is  no  doubt  Ardern and Peters  established  a  good  working  relationship.  It  could be  seen in the  House  when Peters  was  quick to  come  to the  aid of the prime minister if  she  appeared to  be struggling  under  fire  from the  Opposition.

And after  the act of  murderous terrorism  at the mosques in  Christchurch  it was Peters  who stood  at Ardern’s shoulder  as  she grieved  with the victims’  relatives.

So,  as  Point of  Order sees  it  Peters.  should   be in  line  for a  knighthood.  But  Peters, being the  quixotic figure  he is,  may have rejected it, planning  instead to  fight  another  day.

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