Polls and Peters’ political sensors prompt him to pounce on co-governance – and depleted pay packets – in pitch for support

So  is  Winston  Peters   ready  to  step  back on  to the  hustings?.

He  showed  every  sign  of  it  when he fronted  on  the Robert  Bolt show on Australia’s  Sky TV channel  this  week. As  the  interview  ended the  egregious  Bolt  wished  him  well in  his  campaign.

Bolt  had  invited Peters to  appear  on his prime-time  talk-show, clearly agitated by the Ardern government’s  moves towards implementing co-governance.

It was a  theme Peters  relished, and, belying  his 77 years, he  gave a  fair  thrashing  to  what  he called   “manifestations of Labour’s race-based co-governance agenda”. He  said the policy  will lead New Zealand to “become a separatist state”.

Peters reads polls as closely as anyone. And  if  he  didn’t,  his  acute  political  sense  would tell him  there is a  mountain of  disenchantment  with the  current  regime and  neither  National  nor  ACT  are  fully  tuned into it.

National and Act are marginally ahead of Labour-Green, with the latter boosted by Te Pāti Māori and the MMP overhang. After the John Key-Māori Party deal, there won’t be a second pact with National, at least until there has been one with Labour.

If Peters once again  corrals  voters  dissatisfied  with  the  right or  left  coalitions, he’s on track to choose the Prime Minister again.

In  thrashing  Ardern’s  co-governance policy, it  might  seem  that  in  his  role  as  kingmaker he  would anoint Christopher Luxon, for the same reasons he backed Ardern in 2017.

His experiences after saving Jim Bolger in 1996 and Helen Clark in 2005 made him wary of propping up a declining status quo.  Better to chance it with something new.

That’s  Matthew  Hooton’s  view, who  notes that – for Labour’s part – Ardern and her strategists developed the same loathing of working with Peters and his circle that National acquired a generation earlier. Reversing 2017, Peters would face frosty 2023 Labour negotiators but a desperate National.

If Peters’ Ardern experiment didn’t work out either, he can blame Covid. In late 2019, NZ First was hanging in there, securely over 4% , with reasonable expectations of again holding the balance of power. After the lockdown, NZ First crashed to the ones and twos and never looked credible again.

Hooton  also  contends that – learning from Donald Trump – Peters plans to be 2023’s social media king. Narrow targeting through social media makes sense given that Peters needs only one in 20 voters, and can more easily win them over if he is less open to mainstream critique.

The remaining 19 voters and the mainstream media can loathe and belittle him as much as they like. It makes no difference to Peters under MMP, the system he campaigned for after the Royal Commission in 1986.

With  his  rant  on  the  Robert  Bolt  show,  Peters  has  already  underlined his  direction.

He  will  go vote-hunting by attacking  co-governance, the  Brown Table and their “sickly white liberal” enablers.

But  there are  plenty  of  other  targets,  not  least  in  urban  areas  like West Auckland  where  house-owners  will be suffering  from  the iniquities of  rising   mortgage  costs  coupled   with the  inroads  of  inflation  into  pay packets.

Rather  the  rabble-rouser of  previous  campaigns   Peters  could  easily  appear  in  the  frame  of  the  elder statesman  coming  to  the  rescue of  a  country  facing  mortal danger.

He  knows  the  defence  forces  have  been    neglected  by the  Ardern  government.   Russia’s  attack  on the  Ukraine  and   China’s  aggressive stance in  the  Pacific  suggest Peters  would  find  some  resonance  with a  call  to  arms.

Meanwhile  Point of  Order  will be  closely  monitoring   Peters’   next  moves to inject  his  own  brand  of  energy  into  the  next  round of  electioneering.

One thought on “Polls and Peters’ political sensors prompt him to pounce on co-governance – and depleted pay packets – in pitch for support

  1. Peters is well placed to take Labour to task on co-governance, which is a betrayal of our democracy and New Zealanders’ basic human rights. He can say things others are reticent to express for fear of being labeled “racist” by Ardern’s gutter press. I wish him well.


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