Monday, March 27, 2023

Cam Slater: The Curious Coincidence of Continued ACT Attacks on NZ First

On Friday in Howick, Winston Peters delivered his state of the nation speech to a packed and overflowing audience. Not long after, Newshub, the go-to media outlet for ACT Party attack pieces, was telling us that apparently Winston Peters was a liar regarding He Puapua.

Some commenters on Friday night were even running the same shabby lines without even bothering to understand the complexities of how Parliament committees operate, but they ran the lines anyway. This is the second time ACT has attacked NZ First after a key note speech.

Winston Peters has kicked off the election year promising to remove te reo Maori names from public sectors and ruling out going into Government with Labour.

Peters has maintained Labour lied to him over the contentious He Puapua report – but Newshub can reveal Peters was among the ministers who commissioned it.

Patiently waiting amid an abundance of adulation from one speaker, Peters then laid it on pretty thick himself.

“Why are we putting up with this bulldust? It’s your country. Take it back,” he said.

He also made a promise.

“Under New Zealand First, we will change all of the woke virtue-signalling names of every government department back to English.”

Peters also ruled out who he would work with in Government.

“We’ve made it very clear: we are not going with any party that practises racism, that seeks to divide this country,” he said.

By that, he meant Labour.

“We are not going with parties that practice racist policies.”

And by that, he means co-governance.

Peters said Labour went behind his back when they were in Government together.

Worse than that. I’m the Deputy Prime Minister, not even telling me.”

He claims they didn’t tell New Zealand First about a plan to address New Zealand’s United Nations obligations to address indigenous rights, colloquially called UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

That plan turned into the contentious He Puapua report, which was attacked as a co-governance agenda.

Asked if he had nothing to do with UNDRIP, Peters said: “Of course, I didn’t.”

But hang on, take a look at the minutes from a Cabinet subcommittee in March 2019.

This is where it was agreed “to develop a national plan of action” to respond to UNDRIP. And which minister is at the top of the list? The Right Honourable Winston Peters.

Asked if he was in a Cabinet committee that signed it off, Peters said that was false. 

ACT has sat on that information for ages, until they saw Winston Peters make headway, then out comes the hit job. But it was as shabby as it was wrong. Just because a minister was in attendance at a committee that initiated a report doesn’t mean that same minister signed off on the report. That’s the rub: Winston Peters didn’t know the report had been completed and sent to Nanaia Mahuta, because Mahuta fought to keep the report secret.

Signing up to an idea is fine. That does not make him responsible to the machinations after. Commissioning a report is very different to accepting it once it turns out to be tripe.

ACT would have known this if they weren’t so inexperienced in parliamentary process. Winston Peters explains via Facebook:

In response to Newshub and Amelia Wade’s obvious and ham-fisted attempt at a typical and predicted political hit job.

As any politically aware reporter would know, any Cabinet subcommittee has a duty and obligation as a part of any government to respond to any UN declaration, in this case the UNDRIP, that the previous National/Act/Maori Party government foolishly signed us up to – and unfortunately it seems ACT’s Deputy Leader Brooke Van Velden is so new to politics that she didn’t realise that fact and was used by Newshub’s Amelia Wade.

The previous National/Act/Maori Party government signed the disgraceful UNDRIP two years after I, as Foreign Minister, refused to sign the divisive declaration on the basis that it was opposed to our country’s constitutional rights – and former Prime Minister Helen Clark also agreed.

The resulting report to that subcommittee investigation, He Puapua, was produced and given to Minister Mahuta – deceitfully not to me as the then Foreign Minister. It was hidden from New Zealand First, a coalition partner, and me as the Deputy Prime Minister. A report Labour hid and lied about because they knew it would be torn in two and would never be forced upon the people of our country with New Zealand First in government.

In the Cabinet subcommittee minutes themselves it is clearly noted – “that the following advice from the working group, te Minita Whanaketanga Maori, will consult with ministers with portfolio interests in a declaration plan”.

That consultation never occurred. I was never shown the report as the Minister of Foreign Affairs holding the key portfolio interest.

Willie Jackson, in a moment of clarity, even told the media that at the time – as I reminded Amelia Wade yesterday but she never bothered to report.

This type of ham-fisted politically influenced hit job from our so called ‘fourth estate’ now acting like a bunch of ‘fifth columnists’ is disappointing but hardly surprising.

It’s clear now that it’s because New Zealand First is gaining so much momentum and is a genuine threat to the very establishment they all purport [to] belong to.

Having an overflowing packed meeting full of hundreds of people when we launched in Howick yesterday is all the evidence we need that we will be back. And they know it.

This ain’t my first rodeo.
Watch this space.Winston Peters on Facebook

So, Newshub, ACT and some of our own commenters, in their pathological hatred of Winston Peters, with the same sort of behaviour as Never Trumpers, decided a simple minute commissioning a report means Winston Peters has been lying. These Never Winston folk are so distracted by their loathing of the man that all reason disappears out the window.

But here’s the thing: Winston Peters has categorically stated that there will be no deal with Labour. This is breaking with his long-held stance of never disclosing who he will deal with. That said – that NZ First will not be dealing with Labour – means that there is high chance that a three-way coalition between National, ACT and NZ First will be required to unseat the Labour party.

That means that David Seymour and the ACT Party are engaging in acts of friendly fire with a person and a party that they may indeed need to win the next election.

With National and Christopher Luxon failing to fire, and slowly sliding in popularity as voters see that Luxon is not the new Messiah, there is a good chance that NZ First will pick up the more centric voters, rather than the ACT Party.

If there is the necessity for a three-way coalition, then David Seymour, with history of ambushing NZ First, may well find out that his negotiations strike a bit of interference. As mentioned, this is the second time ACT have set up Winston with historic stuff immediately after he has had an event. That has not gone unnoticed.

David Seymour obviously wants to be treated like the Greens were from 2017–2020: outside of cabinet with minor portfolios and no real influence.

This tactic of attacking Winston Peters constantly either shows desperation or utter stupidity. Desperation, as you all know, is a stinky cologne. I don’t think it is desperation because ACT Party members and politicians are arrogantly assuming they will be in the box seat come the election. That just leaves stupidity.

It shows a lack of strategic thinking that they can’t think through scenarios that are likely post election where NZ First are in the mix for a potential coalition. And as a consequence David Seymour and Brooke van Velden are showing they have the self discipline of a tired four-year-old wanting another kid’s toy to play with.

It is a dangerous game they are playing, and one which may in fact contribute to a third term for the Labour Party.

The ACT Party have never really ever been chess players: at best they are good for a few rounds of draughts, or Chinese checkers.

Cam Slater is a New Zealand-based blogger, best known for his role in Dirty Politics and publishing the Whale Oil Beef Hooked blog, which operated from 2005 until it closed in 2019. This article was first published HERE


Simon Cohen said...

This the same Winston who made Jacinda Prime Minister and is directly responsible for the mess we are now in. Hopefully never again will this destructive force be elected to Parliament.

Anonymous said...

Essential for the centre right to close ranks and find common ground- too much at stake

Ken S said...

Simon is spot on with his comment and long may Act continue to act (no pun intended) in it's own best interests.

Max Ritchie said...

“Friendly fire”? ACT and Winston? Don’t think so.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit rich to blame Winston for the mess the majority Labour government of 2020 have got us into as he has had nothing to do with it. He Puapua was secreted in 2019 when he was a coalition partner. The media has consistently lied about and character-smeared Winston from the winebox inquiry, which proved his claims against the banking fraudsters, to the latest episode of fudged lies as noted above.
However, Winston has always had a consistent political message of NZ First for all NZer's. Now you don't hear that anywhere else, especially these days. The bullshit 'team of 5 million' comes to mind.
I rate Winston's chances. He has been doing the town hall meetings since last year and the turnout to the one in Hastings in December was around 200 (including about 20% young people) where he said the media are ignoring him. I was surprised to see the MSM coverage of his weekend meeting but not surprised to see the motive was to discredit him.
I hope we get a government of three coalition partners with no Labour or Greens. It couldn't be worse than what we have.

Anonymous said...

It's not that curious if they don't play chess they will be thinking that it's either NZ First or Act with National for the next government.
Imagine Natz, ACT and NZ First having to form a government. Imagine. It feels better than imagining Labour being anywhere near the 9th floor.

Peter Young said...

In politics, as in life, there is never smoke without fire. Winston makes some good points and I'm sure he'll win over more than a few geriatrics and others that have short memories. I gather that it was his god-daughter that had a hand in writing He Puapua and maybe she did keep it from him, but still he did put the Ardern Labour party into power. Some will have long memories, but either way, we do need a change from the same ol' same ol' which typifies the current woke think of the two major parties. If nothing else, the Posie Parker debacle underscores that.

Anonymous said...

Why can't Winnie explain the brain fart of a decision to install a hard left left, woke socialist as PM? What did he think the ditzy wee idiot would bring to NZ politics? And if you think Cindy was a flop just look around now. A cadre of absolute idiots like Michael Wood, Marama Davidson, James Shaw, Chloe etc. Heaven help us. Rivers of BS are flowing already.
Signed. White Cis male.