green = good Greens = red

November 12, 2010

The word ”green” has a powerful meaning in our public life in a way it never did before. It has connotations of habitat, nature, trees, wilderness and also moral connotations – stewardship of the landscape, sustainable ways of living, openness, honesty and transparency.

I would vote for a green party, if such a party existed, but instead we have the Greens, a bipolar coalition of genuine environmentalists and genuine hard-left, anti-corporate progressives hiding under the flag of convenience of environmentalism.

Quote of the week from In bed with the devil – a deal that has tainted Green politics by Paul Sheehan.

He’s writing about Australia but these paragraphs apply in New Zealand politics too.

Hat Tip: Trans Tasman.


Why would you want to spend more than you need to?

May 4, 2010

More than 20 years since we were dragged kicking and screaming into the real world without subsidies but unions, Labour and Green MPs  still don’t get it.

Why would KiwiRail get a New Zealand company to build its new wagons unless it was the best option for the company?

It’s a business, not a charity.

We taxpayers have already wasted millions more than we needed to buying the company, why pour more good money after bad?

If the companies which build wagons can’t compete in that business without subsidies they should put their skills to use in areas where they can be competitive without taxpayer or SOE assistance.


A cunning plan to counter MMP?

November 28, 2009

Phil Goff’s channelling of Winston Peters is uncharacteristic.

Nothing in his past pronouncements or behaviour suggests he’s a racist.

Why then would he attack Maori as he did this week?

There are now only three wee parties in parliament, Act the Maori Party, the Greens (the other two are creations of their leaders and will disappear when they do).

Under MMP it is very unlikely one of the major parties will govern alone.

The Greens agenda is not just environmental it’s social and economic and their policies on all these are very left-wing. That makes it much more likely they would support Labour than National.

That leaves the Maori Party in a very powerful position in the middle, able to go left or right. Except that this week, Goff made it much, much harder for them to support Labour and therefore much harder for his party to get back into government under MMP.

Could it be his reference to pork bone politics is not just an attack on the Maori Party and a dog whistle to racists, but a cunning plan to undermine MMP too?


I support the Greens

October 19, 2009

They’ve spotted a missing apostrophe in a government press release – or at least the place where the apostrophe would be if it wasn’t missing.

In doing so they’ve also found their sense of humour.

The Green Party renewed it’s call for better grammatical standards in New Zealand, if only to keep world peace.

This is a Green campaign I’m happy to support – although I may live to regret that given my own propensity for proofreading failures.

P.S.

I’m already regretting it because it was only when I read the comments on the post that I noticed the apostrophe missing from the original press release had found its way into the sentence I copied above.

You of course will have noticed it straight away.


The honourable member

September 29, 2009

Finance Minister Bill English has done the honourable thing in removing doubts about his ministerial housing allowance.

He has elected not to take up any housing allowance; has received no housing allowance since July 28 when he paid back the difference between the allowance paid to ministers and other MPs; and has repaid to Ministerial Services all the housing allowance he received since the election.

He also received an opinion from a QC, confirming that changes to his family trust arrangements did not affect his eligibility for the previous ministerial housing allowance.

 He said:

“What I’m announcing today reflects a set of personal decisions I have made about my own situation. It is in no way setting a precedent for others although I make the point here that I believe Parliament does have to think how it can accommodate the families of long-term politicians.

 “At all times my decisions have been driven by my desire to keep my family together and provide them with as much stability as possible. It’s now clear that the system has struggled to deal with my circumstances.

 “This has been an unnecessary distraction. I now want to move on and focus on building our economy and ensuring that New Zealanders have jobs.”

Politics can be a dirty business and Labour were out to get Bill. Regardless of the fact that successive speakers -from Labour and National, have accepted that Dipton is his primary residence as defined by the parliamentary Services - and regardless of what the Auditor General finds, they were going to keep at him.

The perception – and it was only a perception – of wrong doing was a distraction. Bill’s focus, rightly, is on the more important issue of getting the country back on the right economic track. 

This has been expensive, financially and politically, for him. But he’s shown once again that the term honourable member isn’t just a title, it’s a reflection of his behaviour.

That is more than can be said of Jim Anderton who gets a party leader’s allowance though he’s only running a one-man vanity vehicle.

It’s also more than can be said for the Greens, as Kiwkblog  points out:

I look forward to the same level of scrutiny on the Greens renting of houses owned by their superannuation scheme to themselves, to maximise the taxpayer subsidy. They have done exactly what Mallard accused Bill of – using a trust or fund to maximise eligibility. If they owned the properties in their own names, they would only be eligible to claim the interest off any mortgage. get more from parliamentary services by renting flats from their pension fund than they would if they were in their own houses.

Bill has said he’s not setting a precedent but what others do will be measured against his actions. That will be good if it inspires them to act honourably but it will be bad if it makes it puts even more pressure on the family life of MPs.


Can you please members and voters?

July 15, 2009

Can  apolitical party keep its members and voters happy?

The question came after this comment by  Dutchie Down South prompted a lively discussion on the issue.

A party’s first responsibility is to its own principles and through them its members.

In a broad church party like National, there is a wide range of views on many issues, but if members disagree with the principles then they ought to look for another philosophical home.

A party must stand on a firm foundation of its principles if it is to attract and keep its members and if it is to last.

Having said that, it must also attract voters. Under MMP that requires an ability to be flexible with policies which may mean swallowing dead rats.

National has done this with Working for Families and interest free student loans.

WFF may be the only way to help low income wage earners but it’s bad policy to turn middle and high income earners into beneficiaries. I hope the party will come up with a way of offering a better alternative at the next election but accept that it was too risky to go into the last one saying they’d scrap it altogether.

National had a better policy for helping students for the 2002 election but we lost and that’s why the interest-free rat was swallowed. That doesn’t preclude the development of an alternative which could be attractive to voters and sits better with National’s principles which the party could offer before the 2011 election.

Accepting the need to be flexible and stomach a few deceased rodents isn’t an argument for government at any cost. It’s accepting the reality of politics which means you may have to give a little to make some gains.

The Greens provide a good example of what happens when you don’t bend. They’ve marooned themselves on the far left and in spite of being the oldest of the wee parties in parliament have yet to make it in to government. Contrast that with the Maori Party which many thought would never coalesce with National but in just their second term in parliament are part of government and have already made some real gains.

A party which promotes independence and self reliance is always going to attract people with strong views which will not always be in accord. That’s a sign of strength rather than discord because it means there will always be healthy debate.

It also recognises that no-one member will always agree with absolutely everything his/her party does.

That applies as much to the leader as anyone else. Sir Keith Holyoake was asked how he coped with differences between his views and the party’s.

He said he was 100% behind 60% of his party’s views, there were about 30% that he was less enthusiastic about but they weren’t die-in-a-ditch matters and given that, he could agree to disagree over the other 10%.

If that was good enough for the Prime Minister, it’s good enough for me.

When all else fails, it helps to remember there are no miracles in politics and it’s better to achieve something in government than nothing in opposition.


They panicked

April 26, 2009

Does the average voter understand or care about party lists?

I suspect not.

So why isn’t Phil Twyford seeking the candidacy for Mount Albert?

It’s not because David Farrar explained on Kiwiblog that if he did Judith Tizard would go back into parliament as a list member, although as Poneke points out he did that very well.

It is because the Labour leadership paniced  panicked and as Matt McCarten says:

What is disheartening is that Labour’s action wasn’t from a place of principled strategy but the result of hysteria generated by their political opponents.

Because of that, what should have been a clean succession of the obvious successor to Helen Clark has turned into a contest for the candidacy from which their can only be one winner and that immediately creates the possiblity for problems amongst the losers and their followers.

It has allowed people to contemplate the thought that what ought to be a safe Labour seat might be marginal. It has prompted the Greens to stand a strong candidate who will split the vote; and that in turn has led to speculation that National could make this a close race and even, with a strong tail wind and the planets in the right place, win the seat.

National can’t lose from this. There is a slight possibility they could win the seat and there will be no shame at all for the party or its candidate if s/he doesn’t.

The Greens will get the publicity they desperately need.

And Labour has already lost, even if they do hold the seat, because they panicked and Phil Goff failed his first real test of leadership.


Do you want a sermon with that?

April 18, 2009

A travel company’s blurb on a walking tour of Italy says:

Whilst at your discretion [the company] recommends arriving/departing by train where possible within Europe due to this method of transport’s minimal carbon emissions.

Is that the end of the sermon, or are they going to recommend that we don’t drop rubbish, eat too much, drink immoderately or do any of the other things which might impact on the health of the planet or ourselves?

While one company’s preaching at us, another is making us pay for their penance.

I don’t have a problem with supermarkets, or other businesses, charging customers for plastic bags – there’s a cost to them, someone has to pay, it might as well be the users and if that encourages more people to use reusable bags which in turn reduces rubbish that might be a good thing.

I say might because I don’t know if the total impact of manufacturing and eventually recycling or disposing of reusable bags is actually better for the environment than that of making and recycling or disposing of plastic bags.

But that’s an argument for another time, it’s paying the penance  about which I’m quibbling now.

 Foodstuffs (New Zealand) managing director Tony Carter will only say that it will be making “substantial contributions” to environmental causes, with the majority of the money charged for bags earmarked for this use.

* I’m a little confused by this because it appears customers are being charged extra for something that will be better for the environment and then the company is using the extra money to contribute to “environmental causes”. *

If this is a good policy for bags, why not give the majority of the profits from everything to environmental causes because everything they sell will impact on the environment?

Or, if resusable bags really are so much better for the environment, why not just charge the cost price and let customers choose what to do with the money they save by not having to pay the supermarket extra so they can give it away?

If , however, charging more so supermarkets can donate more is a good thing, why stop there? Why not donate some of the profit from pet food to the SPCA and from anything which doesn’t meet the low fat, low sugar, high fibre prescription for healthy eating to the Cancer Society or Heart Foundation?

Is that any sillier than donating most of the profit from reusable plastic bags to “environemntal causes”?

I don’t have anything against businesses making profits or choosing to give some of those profits to worthy causes, but the idea of charging more than they need to then giving the excess away is a bit too much like a government taking more tax and redistributing it for my liking.

I use reusable bags, at least I do when I remember to take them, and being charged for the plastic ones will almost certainly help me remember them more often.

I don’t have a problem with the user-pays-save-the-planet policy, it’s turning it into a mission I question.

Businesses should do what’s best for them and, like all of us, minimise their negative impact on the environment while they’re doing it.

But they can keep the sermons and if they choose to pay a penance, they need to understand they’re not doing us any favours by charging us more to let them do it.

Lou Taylor at No Minister  reckons retailing is a bloodsport and:

The retailers who survive are the ones who can evolve with the times, control their overheads and are prepared to accept lower profits from time to time.

They might also be the ones that forget the sermons and don’t expect us to pay their penance.

P.S. Apropos of reusable bags, Liberty Scott shows the Greens don’t get the idea of choice.

* I was confused, this policy applies to plastic bags not resuable ones.

UPDATE: The Visible Hand in Economics posts on industry based solution vs regulation

UPDATE 2: Poneke has made a welcome return and posts on a related matter: indulgences we can do without.


Have Greens seen the blue light?

April 8, 2009

The Greens are a product of MMP.

They’ve used it to get into parliament but have never got in to power because they’ve failed to understand that under MMP the wee parties can only have much influence if they are in the middle.

Election after election they’ve been marooned on the far left margins because their left wing ideology has blinded them to the possibility of  working with any party but Labour.

But have they seen the light at last and understand that the left doesn’t have a mortgage on concern for the environment and green issues cross the political spectrum?

Roraprawn reckons they might have and that they’re cosying up to National.

If she’s right I could almost – just almost – feel sorry for Labour. Yesterday they lost their two strongest MPs and today they might lose their only ally (not counting that bloke from Wigram who’s one of them in all but name anyway).


Fear of freedom leads to storm in lunchbox

April 4, 2009

The Greens still haven’t learned to pick their fights:

Greens health spokeswoman Sue Kedgley yesterday started a petition to persuade the Government to yield to public pressure.

In effect, it asks for the re-introduction of the ban on regular sales of unhealthy food and drink in schools.

What is it about freedom which frightens some people? Is it that with freedom to choose goes the responsibility to exercise that choice wisely? 

If there is sufficient public pressure for re-introducing the ban then surely there is no need for one because the public will not allow their children to eat the food they object to and will have worked with the schools their children go to to ensure that ban or no ban only “healthy” food is available in their canteens.

Or does the pressure for prohibition mean the public doesn’t have the courage of their convictions and have been unable to persuade their children and their schools to do what they think best and so want the government to use compulsion?

This is all just a storm in a lunch box because lifting the ban doesn’t compel schools to change what they’re providing. They still have a responsibility to provide “healthy” options and teach children about good nutrition.

A couple of what Poneke calls celebthorities have joined the campaign and one, Rob Hamill, shows he’s better at rowing than logic with this comment:

“If it’s about freedom of choice, why can’t we sell cigarettes in schools? … We know it’s wrong.

“If we are putting crap food in the diets of kids, not only are they going to underperform, it’s going to set a habit for life.”

The difference between cigarettes and food is that even one cigarette causes harm but while nutritional value varies, there is no junk food only junk diets. If the children are eating a balanced diet the odd suasage roll, pie or cream bun isn’t going to hold them back.

The real problem isn’t about what’s offered in school canteens it’s what the children eat most of the time and those concerned about children’s development would achieve more by working to provide breakfast for children who arrive at school hungry than they will by calling for a ban. 

Hat Tip: Kiwiblog who thanks the Greens for reminding us about the growth of nanny state under Labour.


Break out the champers

February 17, 2009

The affront to democracy that was the Electoral Finance Act was repealed this evening.

It was consigned to the dust bin by 112 votes to 9 when only the Greens continued to blindly support the misguided and badly drafted peice of legislation to the bitter end.


What do you do when the evidence proves you wrong?

February 12, 2009

Mike Moore writes that the ability to change one’s mind is a virtue.

The great economist, Lord Keynes, was once challenged at a media event – they had the “gotcha” press even back then.

How, he was asked, could he justify his statement when just a few years ago he had said the opposite ? “When the evidence proves I’m wrong, I change my mind.

What do you do ?” he replied sweetly.

The rest of the colum would be instructional reading for the Greens because of its economic message and because they’re the only party in parliament that won’t accept the evidence about how bad the Electoral Finance Act was and will be voting against its repeal.

Until their blind support for the EFA I had thought the Greens were principled. Their attachment to that dog’s breakfast changed my mind and their refusal to support its repeal confirms I was right to do so.

Inquiring Mind  points out the Green’s disdain for democracy, Monkeywithtypewriter reminds us of exactly who was to blame for the Act and lists its faults; and Keeping Stock  celebrates the Act’s demise.


Dear Father Christmas # 1

December 6, 2008

Dear Father Christmas,

As a woman of modest tastes I haven’t asked you for very much in recent Christmases because you gave me a power tool nine years ago and I’ve been very happy playing with it.

But now it’s worn out and I’m at a bit of a loose end so wonder if I could have another one, perferably one with an international component. (Although that can be our little secret because if the Greens find out they’ll be upset I’m not taking any notice of the advertisements I agreed to spend millions on telling everyone to buy Kiwi-made).

Yours sincerely

Helen


Ag matters rank doesn’t

November 21, 2008

Federated Farmers has welcomed the appointment  of David Carter as Minister of Agriculture but  Feds’ president Don Nicolson is disappointed with his ranking.

“If I can voice one disappointment that is Mr Carter’s Cabinet rank of ten.  I would have hoped agriculture and Mr Carter deserved a much higher ranking to send the important signal that New Zealand needs to farm its way out of recession.”

As I posted earlier it’s not where a Minister is ranked but the job s/he does with the Minsitry which matters.

Although if Feds is worried about National’s understanding of the importance of agriculture they should be reassured that Deputy Prime Minister Bill English was a farmer and there are plenty of other farmers in the National caucus.

Contrast that with Labour which now has none and have given the role of agriculture spokesman to Jim Anderton.

Feds as befits an apolitical organisation was positive about Anderton, but I think he served farmers very poorly.

My view starts with a local example when he was responsible for regional development. The single most important area for development in North Otago is irrigation. Anderton was told this on several visits and asked to assist, he promised the earth and delivered nothing.

And what did he do for us when he was Minsiter of Agriculture?

He was good at making speeches which said nothing but that was about it.

He promised he’d get farm working dogs exempt from microchipping, and failed. The exemption was made, but only by accident when Green MP Nador Tanczos wouldn’t support the legislation.

Tenure review and  pastoral leses come under Conservation and Lands but impact directly on agriculture and while Anderton was Minister they became even more of a dog’s breakfast.

But worst of all he sat on his hands while agriculture was included in the Emmisions Trading Scheme.

He might have been ranked third in cabinet but that didn’t stop him doing a third rate job for agriculture.


Who understands MMP?

November 17, 2008

 

“National doesn’t understand MMP” was a criticism made of it by other parties and commentators.

But deals with Act, The Maori Party and United Future show National and its leadership not only understand the system, they also know how to make it work.

With 70 votes on confidence and supply the National-led government headed by John Key is potentially the most stable we’ve had since MMP was introduced.

Key acknowledges that the agreements by themselves don’t guarantee a smooth ride. He describes them as being like marriage certificates which provide foundations for relationships but the partners need to work on them and they won’t  succeed without commitment and good communication.

However, recent history shows what happens to individuals and their parties when they destabilise a government. All parties realise they have a lot to gain from making the deals work and a lot to lose if they sabotage them.

The speed with which the agreements have been made is also impressive – nine days comapred with the 32 it took Labour after the last election.

That’s set the tone for a government of action rather than reaction and with the economic storm clouds gathering it’s reassuring to know we’ve got a government that, as John Key told Breakfast this morning, isn’t going to muck about.

And a footnote on who understands MMP: The Greens are a product of it but by marooning themselves on the left they show they’ve failed to grasp the fact that the power is in the centre.

Parties must stick to their principles and they must have bottom-lines to keep faith with their supporters. But they must also be prepared to make concessions and that’s particularly so for the wee parties because their size reflects their support. Theirs are minority views and in a democracy that puts them in a position of weakness so they have to give more ground.

The Greens had a choice of making concessions and achieving something or staying in the wilderness. Because they’ve failed to understand MMP they took the latter position. That doesn’t mean National might not be prepared to talk to them but as the cartoon from No Minister  shows they’re not in a strong position for negotiating.


Independence key to progress

November 13, 2008

Macdoctor wondered if he and Roarprawn  are the only ones to apprecitate John Key’s cleverness in offering ministerial roles to the Maori Party.

Phil Goff does too and he’s a wee bit tetchy about it:

Mr Goff said the Maori Party had decided to “bind” itself to National.

“It has made this decision notwithstanding the fact that in every Maori seat, voters on the ground gave the majority of the party vote to Labour, outpolling National by six to one.”

Rather than binding itself to National, the Maori Party would be showing it is independent of Labour and therefore establishing it as the only centre party in parliament (one-man vanity vehicles don’t count).

Keeping Stock  points out that only 55% of those on the Maori roll voted.

As only about half those eligible choose to be on the Maori roll that leaves a lot more Maori who didn’t vote for Labour than did, but that’s irrelvant now anyway. Labour lost the election and is in opposition, National won and is in a position, with or without the Maori Party’s support to help the Maori people.

That’s what the Maori Party is in parliament to do and if they turn their backs on this opportunity they’ll be letting them down, binding the party to Labour consigning it to the wasteland of the left occupied by the Greens.


Third poll favours blue

November 7, 2008

The Herald DigiPoll confirms the trend of the two television polls last night – if support translates into real votes tomorrow the blue block would win because National would be able to govern with Act and United Future.

Photo / Herald graphic

This assumes the Maori Party would win 5 seats and we’d have a 123 seat parliament.  National would have 61 seats, Act 2 and United Future 1. 

Three out of three polls is encouraging but its the fourth poll, and only real one, tomorrow which matters and there are still too many ifs and maybes to be sure about that.

The poll of polls, a rolling average of the last four surveys, also shows the blue block slightly ahead of the red one:

Photo / Herald graphic


Bill & Ben could bring underhang

November 5, 2008

While many commentators are pointing out we could end up with an overhang after the election, Tim Donoghue has found a way to get an underhang.

Under MMP, people will actually be able to vote for a reduction in the size of Parliament, simply by voting for the Bill and Ben Party.

. . . There are only two people on their party list – Jamie “Bill” Lineham and Ben “Ben” Boyce.

Now here’s the rub. There’s been much talk about the Maori Party possibly causing a four seat over-hang if they win the seven Maori seats on Saturday night but poll poorly in the party vote. That would mean there could be up to 124 MPs in our next Parliament.

But wait – the Bill and Ben Party could actually be on the verge of reducing the number of seats in the Parliament.

Under the Sainte Lague formula, if by some miracle the Bill and Ben Party polls five per cent of the party vote the pair will be responsible for an underhang in Parliament.

The rules of MMP state if a party hasn’t nominated enough list candidates to fill all the seats to which it is entitled on the basis of its share of the party vote, the seats remain unfilled and the size of the Parliament is reduced by that number of seats till the next general election.

If disillusioned voters decide to vote en masse for the Bill and Ben Party as a protest vote and the party cracks the magic five per cent figure, Parliament could be cut to 116 or 117 seats. Bill and Ben would not be allowed to conjure up the names of four or five mates to help them fill the void.

Recent polls indicate National, Labour and the Greens are the only parties guaranteed to crack the five per cent threshold on Saturday. NZ First is the only other party with an outside chance.

So the message is simple – if you’ve decided you’re not going to vote because you don’t believe in encouraging politicians, think again: vote Bill and Ben Party and put three politicians out of a job.


More hypocrisy

November 1, 2008

Barry Soper told Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB yesterday that the police were waiting for legal advice before releasing a report on their investigations into New Zealand First leader Winston Peters. But Soper wasn’t expecting charges to be laid.

The report still hasn’t been released but if it does clear Peters it will be overshadowed by yet another report on his hypocricy.

Phil Kitchen reports on evidence that NZ First and its leader took donations from the Velas who were also paying party staffer Ross Meurant who was helping develop racing, fishing and tax policies.

A related story tells of Peters demanding a helicopter  from the Velas.

If nothing else this is further proof of hypocrisy in the man who scrambled up the polticial ladder on rungs created by his repeated railings against the influence of big business.

It will only take one in five   20 voters to get Peters and his party into parliament. Once he’s there a Labour led government, supported by the Greens and Jim Anderton would allow him back in government, almost certainly as a minister.

Jeanette Fitzsimons said during the wee party leaders’ debate she’d find it difficult working with him, but neither she nor her party have said they won’t work with him.

So a vote for any of the parties on the left is a vote for Peters to be a Minister because they are all prepared to put politics before principle.

Only John Key has put principle first by ruling Peters and his party out of cabinet and government he leads.

We can choose not to vote for Peters and his party, but that might not keep them out of parliament.

We can choose to vote for a National led government and be certain it will keep them out of government.


400 people 6 politicians

October 29, 2008

I started my journalism career in an election year – 1981 when politicians still faced the public at meetings and the public still turned up in good numbers – several hundred people – to hear them.

After attending two meet the candidates forums in the past fortnight with fewer than 25 people in each audience I’d begun to wonder if this form of democratic interaction was dying.

However, a report on a meeting  in Queenstown gives me hope.

The ODT reports that 400 people turned out to hear six politicians: National deputy leader Bill English, his Labour counterpart Michael Cullen, Progressive MP Jim Anderton, Act candidate Roger Douglas, Greens co-leader Russel Norman and NZ First leader Winston Peters.

All parliamentary parties had been invited to send a representative and while I understand that wee parties’ MPs can’t be everywhere, it’s a poor reflection on both United Future and the Maori Party that they couldn’t find a candidate to represent them at the forum.

The ODt says that Queenstown Lakes Mayor Clive Geddis received sustained applause from the audience when he told the politicians:

“. . . if you can run the economy of New Zealand for the next decade as these people out here have run the economy of the Lakes District for the past decade, the GDP will be 30% greater . . . than it is today.

“Close to 400 people here this evening have paid to come and hear politicians. It’s a sobering thought and what is behind that is a genuine interest.”

Mr Geddes said those who had turned out felt they had ownership of their community, had a say in the way it was managed and felt they were in charge of their own economy.

“People who are prepared to front on a cold, rainy night, pay 30 bucks to hear you . . . but more importantly that you take away from them the message that this town has got something you can learn from them.”

The paper also noted the best one-liners:

Bill English on the anti-smacking legislation: It’s going to be the nanny state on P.

Russel Norman reacting after being criticised for being an Australian representing a New Zealand party in an election: Hey, I’m a citizen, mate. There are a lot of migrants in this country. Get used to it.

Michael Cullen after being asked about the proposed location of the new Frankton school: I don’t have a briefing on that, I assume they’re planning for future growth.

MC Jim Hopkins reacting to Dr Cullen’s comment: Hold the press . . . a politician has just admitted he doesn’t know something.

Winston Peters after being asked to confirm a rumour a deal had been done between New Zealand First and Labour that if NZ First did not get in, Mr Peters would be appointed Right Honourable Consul of Monaco: You came all the way tonight and that’s your best shot? Sit down and be a good lad.

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate it, but if that’s the best Peters can do the standard of his repartee is down with his standard of accountability.


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