Scoop Election 08: edited by Gordon Campbell

The Winston Peters Comeback

July 16th, 2009

Only Winston Peters could say the hardest word in the political lexicon – “Sorry” – by implying that his mistakes were really due to his performing to a higher standard than others. That is the only meaning that can be taken from the ‘apology’ contained in his reported email to New Zealand First party members: ”We acknowledge that we made mistakes. In keeping our eyes on the big picture, we failed to appreciate the importance of the details. We allowed our opponents to create a perception of wrongdoing, when in fact, no offences were committed.”

Got that? His mistake was to fail to stop others from saying that he’d done something wrong, when he really hadn’t. Not exactly a sackcloth and ashes exercise, is it? Yes, they were out to get him but he ‘failed’ to stop them from doing it. It won’t happen again, Peters promises. However, as this Dominion-Post report points out, the mistakes ran a whole lot deeper :

Mr Peters spent most of 2008 defending revelations that his party had channelled large donations through secret trusts to avoid disclosure.

This culminated in controversy over a $100,000 donation from expat businessman Owen Glenn towards Mr Peters legal fees.

At first Mr Peters denied the donation happened and once it became public denied that he knew about it.

The tricky thing about such a legacy is that if New Zealand First wishes to get back into Parliament, the party will not qualify for parliamentary funding, and will therefore have to rely on donations. A genuine apology from Peters will need to address just how he plans to go about being totally be transparent in future about the donations he will now need more than ever, to return to Parliament.

There is plenty of time for him to do so. The next AGM for New Zealand First is not until the end of August. (Presumably, Owen Glenn will not be on his calling list.) That aside, the encouraging thing for Peters is that there is a major political issue out there tailor made for his talents – namely the Auckland Super City proposal. National and Act can only thank their lucky stars that Peters has been missing in action during the early stages of this debate, because the Super City proposal is a Peters godsend. It offers the prospect of the same sort of rich white guys that he fought in the Winebox era pillaging Auckland’s resources, even as they slash the democratic rights of the same ordinary battlers that Peters has always pledged to defend. If Peters can’t get 5 % in a 2011 election campaign when John Banks will be poised to become the Overlord of Auckland, then something will have gone seriously amiss with the Winston Peters charisma machine.

Oh, and did I mention retirement savings, an ageing population and an under performing health system, and a government that will looking to privatise state assets during its second term? All issues that Peters is perfectly positioned to exploit. If the real Peters didn’t exist in the next election campaign, we would need to invent him, because the 2011 election will be fought on his kind of platform. But then again, the media and Winston Peters always have had a pretty weird relationship of co-dependency.


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    1. 6 Responses to “The Winston Peters Comeback”

    2. By Peter on Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

      Peter Brown’s outburst on radio this morning wasn’t just extraordinary because he completely blamed Peters for their failure in the election (though he was correct in that). It was that despite everything, most notably the lies and obfuscation over the Spencer Fund ( and the arrogance to think he could use Winston Churchill’s middle name and still get away with it)Brown still thinks Peters is the best person to run a political party!. You are right, of course, that the media needs Peters now that there is a complete personality vacuum throughout parliament, but the rest of us don’t. The man is self obsessed,
      reckless and a gross attention seeker. Now it seems we are all going to have to watch him and the media dance on for more than two years. Dear God!

    3. By Dave McArthur on Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

      No group is without flaws and all political parties contain a few dead rats in their closet. The question often becomes, “What has sent our media into a feeding frenzy about a particular dead rat at this moment in our history?”


      Our journalists have always detested Winston Peters since the Wine Box expose for showing them up as profoundly incompetent. All the proponents of Carbon Trading had to do last year was point to the NZ First closet and our media adopted its typical knee-jerk super-virtuous response. Our journalists tore into the NZ First closet, salivating, desperate to exorcise their own personal demons and became completely distracted in most brainless manner while our Parliament quietly endorsed some of the most evil legislation ever devised. I refer to the ETS. If adopted universally the ETS will lead to unprecedented vast wealth transfers from the world’s poorer communities to a few rich people so the latter can further pollute the planet while depleting our remaining mineral resources.

      I am sorry too. I apologise to all our young people for the misery and war my generations are about to inflict on you all because of our “market-driven” behaviour, bankrupt journalism and violent media.


      Dave McArthur

    4. By VCD on Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

      Just being sorry does not instantly make you exempt you from accountability.
      There is a big rat on the floor and someone has to take it back outside .

    5. By Dr Strangeglove on Jul 16, 2009 | Reply

      You are sorry, I am sorry, we are all sorry- BUT
      but that does not serve to cover up the rat that the cat dragged back.

      I am sure most people wish that pathologically lying toothyhairball would just retire under the rock from whence he came.
      He is only seen as ‘charismatic’ because he( narcissistically ) seems to believe his own PR .
      Roled out like Hannabel Lecter but for something he cannot do as he can no longer ‘ work’ the aged population. They do not trust him.

      What I really want to know(and never will), is what Peters was doing (just before he got discredited) with the female version of him Condeleza Rice.
      Looking at themselves in the mirror?

    6. By Dr Strangeglove on Jul 17, 2009 | Reply

      Dave it is not your apology to make.
      You diagnosed the problem correctly, but not the causes or those accountable .

    7. By BDB on Jul 18, 2009 | Reply

      One of my concerns with the proposed reintegration of Peter’s was that he was rolled out with the Media’s Pro Euthanasia holiday European campaign.
      Euthanasia is “marketed” as a romantic European getaway?!
      What is wrong with Corporate Media.
      Corporate Media is a social burden.

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