Although it is not surprising that the Queenmaker now says he regrets anointing the Empress who turned out to have no clothes, l must say it is somewhat unexpected from a politician who has made a very successful career out of picking which way the wind is blowing.
But that is Winston and because of that fact alone, we must prepare for the unexpected even though the odds are surely stacked against him in 2023.
I say that because, in my humble opinion, this latest decision will almost certainly mean the end of a career with more resurrections than Lazarus could conjure up.
Sticking with that analogy, you could say that he has had more final appearances than Dame Nellie Melba. We have all written him off over the years but here he is back again and you wouldn’t bet the house against his ability to do it again once more.
But this time it is different or at least it looks like being a death from self inflicted wounds.
If he had left his options open right up until Election Day just like during previous campaigns when he was able to play one major party off against the other, you would understand how he could do deals after the votes were counted that ensured his own survival.
Unfortunately, that scenario epitomises both the worst and best aspect of our current MMP voting system.
People who support minor parties vote for them because of their ability to become a sea anchor on the radical extremes of the two major parties like NZ First did in this government’s first term. It is rather ironic that the worst aspect of MMP ie allowing a party who barely crossed the threshold to become kingmaker of the one who didn’t even get the most votes, should have turned out to be the one that leads to its own downfall next time around.
However, in fairness, the other aspect that proved to be most beneficial for provincial New Zealand during that first three years was a real plus for those of us who struggled during Covid and so, in retrospect, we should be grateful to him that it happened that way.
But the excesses of this Government’s radical clandestine agenda that wasn’t disclosed to either of its coalition partners and will probably spell the end of Labour at the next election has proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back as far as Winston is concerned.
I believe voters from all parties fed up with this monumental betrayal will move en mass towards those who have the capacity to govern either alone or with only one other partner. To ensure that end, it is unlikely they will risk wasting their vote by dabbling with the small outfits who won’t make it over the line. Neither should they.
Time will tell.
Clive Bibby is a commentator, consultant, farmer and community leader, who lives in Tolaga Bay.