The Dim-Post

July 9, 2015

What is happening inside New Zealand First?

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 5:44 pm

First there was the Deputy leadership coup. Then the comms team in New Zealand First had the gallery churn out puff-pieces about various New Zealand First backbenchers – surely the least newsworthy individuals in Parliament? Yesterday one of their staffers wrote a column about ISIS that ran under Ron Mark’s name in the Herald.

It’s all a bit weird. New Zealand First’s brand is Winston Peters. Why are they diluting it? I have no insights into what’s happening in that party, but my guess is that it is positioning itself for a post-Winston Peters future. Why now? Peters has just won an electorate and he’ll probably have the balance of power after the next election. He has no reason to step down. But people inside his party are behaving as if he might.

Who will replace him? The press gallery have this fantasy that it’ll be Shane Jones. It’s hard for them to trail around behind that great man, sighing wistfully, when his job takes him out of the country most of the time. Imagine if he was back in Wellington and, like, leading a party! That would be the most amazing thing ever!

I’d like to see St Jonesy try and lead a party too, but I can’t see it happening. New Zealand First has been around for over twenty years. It is dominated by Peters but it has a board, staff, MPs, volunteers and donors, all of whom will feel invested in the party they’ve helped build and have ideas about its future. Parachuting in a guy who isn’t even a member and unilaterally making him leader would tear it apart. If Peters steps down before the election then there might not even be a legal way to make that happen.

It’s going to be Ron Mark. But really, speculating about the next leader of New Zealand First is like wondering who’ll take over as lead singer of the Rolling Stones after Mick steps down. A party lead by Mark will not win 5% of the vote. He could conceivably win Wairarapa against its very unpopular National MP and bring some MPs in on the electorate seat loophole. Or St Jonesy could stand in Northland and do a deal with National. Many things are possible if/when Peters goes, but the most likely, I think, is that his party will fail to return to Parliament. With the destruction of the Conservative Party and availability of 200,000 New Zealand First voters our politics could get very unpredictable.


  1. They’ll go down the ACT road: fall below 5% and then get ever more desperately populist (“Death penalty referendum NOW! Shop signs in English only!”).

    Nightmare scenario: spurred on by moronic media, Labour and National will pander to this kind of nonsense, especially post-Key. And especially in tougher economic times.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — July 9, 2015 @ 6:17 pm

  2. How is Winston’s health?

    Comment by Wendy — July 9, 2015 @ 6:24 pm

  3. I did find the puff pieces outrageous. Was it last Saturday’s Dom that had the entire second page covered in NZ First stories? With the photo of the two guys who look like Winnie’s security detail?

    Comment by nw — July 9, 2015 @ 6:58 pm

  4. Curwen Rolinson (ex- director, youth wing) has an interesting take on the goings on the NZ First, he wrote it up at Bomber’s place before the police came knocking about unknown charges
    Various family factions and various shenanigans are outlined, that someone may have dobbed him in since just add to the mixture

    Comment by rayinnz — July 9, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

  5. If Peters steps down before the election then there might not even be a legal way to make that happen.

    And this is why mere scientists shouldn’t turn their stunted minds to the arcane and terrifying mysteries of the law. All that the New Zealand First Constitution says about leadership is:

    56. Leader and Deputy Leader
    (a) The Party shall have a Leader and a Deputy Leader selected by the
    Parliamentary Division [i.e. the Party’s MPs].

    So, no legal problem at all in getting St Jonsey to sign a membership form and pay over his membership sub (not even strictly necessary, but probably good optics), then having at least seven of the twelve MPs choose him as the Party Leader. Nothing gets in the way of that leader being outside of Parliament, just like the Greens did with Russel Norman. Whether that would ever happen in practice is another matter entirely.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — July 9, 2015 @ 8:35 pm

  6. St. Jonesy as NZ 1st’s Don Brash? And he was once St. Helen’s protege.

    Comment by Joe W — July 9, 2015 @ 10:16 pm

  7. This post is too transparently a Green party concern troll to be really worth bothering to reply to.

    Comment by Sanctuary — July 10, 2015 @ 6:59 am

  8. Nice one Danyl. You got accused of doing a ‘concern troll’ – by Sanctuary no less – the ultimate accolade!

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 10, 2015 @ 7:25 am

  9. As usual this is all about Winston. Perhaps Winston has suggested he has one more election in him, and has indicated his belief that he can get the threshold he needs to keep the party intact.- so, rather than being assassinated he will go and live out his days somewhere quiet, perhaps even broker a nice sinecure for his ‘unstinting ‘public service’..

    This will ensure total party loyalty to him, until be cedes ‘power’. A nice way to keep the troops in line is to suggest that Jones ‘The Maori in the woodpile’ could be magically helicoptered in to ‘take over’, and we’d all be cool with that.

    This has left some jockeying for the vacancy he [may] leave because the idiots in his party have actually believed Winston.

    It must take some breathtaking naivety to be repeatedly duped by an alleged alcoholic with perhaps incipient Alzheimer’s, but, against all credibility, NZ political punditry manages somehow allow itself to be taken in by ‘Bachelor-Boy’ Peters time and time again.

    Comment by Lee Clark — July 10, 2015 @ 8:03 am

  10. he’ll probably have the balance of power after the next election

    Like he did after the last election?

    Comment by Ross — July 10, 2015 @ 8:12 am


    With an almost 7000 majority, the “very unpopular National MP” will wonder what sort of majority he’ll achieve when and if he becomes popular. You might be thinking of the very unpopular former National MP John Hayes, who held the seat for 9 years.

    Comment by Ross — July 10, 2015 @ 8:18 am

  12. Curwen Rolinson (ex- director, youth wing) has an interesting take on the goings on the NZ First, he wrote it up at Bomber’s place before the police came knocking about unknown charges

    Cannabis, with intent to supply.

    Winston threw him under the bus, which was only fair (you think he’s survived this long by being nice?).

    Comment by Fraud — July 10, 2015 @ 8:56 am

  13. The few times I saw Tracey Martin speaking (eg on Back Benches) I had an impression that she might have actually been capable of working with other parties and acknowledging that some might even have worthwhile policies and expertise here and there, including the Green Party. If that’s an accurate view, then in hindsight it makes complete sense that NZ First rolled her a week ago. None of its traditional voters could bring themselves to vote for a party led by her. Apparently they prefer middle aged men wearing dark suits, pressed close together and invoking rugby metaphors.

    Comment by izogi — July 10, 2015 @ 8:59 am

  14. “With the destruction of the Conservative Party and availability of 200,000 New Zealand First voters our politics could get very unpredictable.”

    Under that scenario the Labour party and the Greens will swing strongly anti-immigrant/anti-foreigners, National will pump up its justice and family values credentials, Act will be whining on te Maori 24/7, the Maori party will have a good sit down with Winston Peters whanau.

    Comment by unaha-closp — July 10, 2015 @ 10:02 am

  15. Sounds like a press agent with an overactve imagination trying to justify his existence.

    Comment by A M Thom — July 10, 2015 @ 11:16 am

  16. NZ First has a youth wing? For youths aged 55-65, presumably?

    Comment by richdrich — July 10, 2015 @ 12:38 pm

  17. 16.NZ First has a youth wing? For youths aged 55-65, presumably?

    Gold, though possibly for the young at heart or the demented also.

    Comment by Gregor W — July 10, 2015 @ 12:40 pm

  18. Nah, you have to be 65 to get the Gold Card.

    Comment by Phil — July 10, 2015 @ 1:14 pm

  19. Winston will never retire. There’s no need – have you not seen What We Do In The Shadows?

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — July 10, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

  20. Given that the Conservative party’s impact on the stability of NZ politics when it was actually a going concern was minimal, it’s hard to imagine they will have a greater impact in breaking up. This seems like the apolitical political journalist’s bias towards believing things are going to get exciting.

    Comment by Ubu — July 11, 2015 @ 1:15 am

  21. Given that the Conservatives failed to disrupt NZ politics when they were a going concern, it’s hard to see how their disintegration is going to have a more disruptive effect.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — July 11, 2015 @ 5:32 am

  22. Just about every time someone here has mentioned this Labour isn’t above playing the race card someone else will respond with – but they’re just stating the facts.

    Personally, I’ve remained quite shocked they supported Peters and pretty certain that they lack principles.

    Comment by NeilM — July 11, 2015 @ 10:39 am

  23. Labour has the right to be a bit indignant though. How can we possibly hear their true voice when National keeps shoving a dog whistle in their mouth and jumping up and down on their chest.

    It is supposed to be the role of the centre left to present to the public the view that often problems are complex with no easy solutions and certainly the solution is not to single out specific ethnicities.

    Nevermind that that might be more difficult. It’s the right thing to do.

    But from Goff’s Nationhood speech through supporting Peters to this Labour have failed. And it’s no accident. They’ve been going on about the Chinese for awhile now.

    But then so did Russell Norman. Maybe Shaw could speak up.

    Comment by NeilM — July 11, 2015 @ 4:52 pm

  24. Chinese NZers 9% Akl popn. People of Chinese descent bought 39.5% of houses sold by major Akl real estate firm. This is foreign money.

    Le Pen or Twyford?

    Comment by NeilM — July 11, 2015 @ 6:06 pm

  25. With all the minimsing statements by Labour supporters over this substitute “Muslim” for “Chinese” – and see how it reads:

    Focusing on non-resident Muslim investors isn’t necessarily racist either.

    Comment by NeilM — July 11, 2015 @ 7:33 pm

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