Since losing the Northland by-election to a resurgent Winston Peters, the National Party has struggled to understand why their vote collapsed. Rather than focus on their own failings, they’ve reverted to type; they’ve chosen to smear the new MP. In the last few weeks of 2015, the Nat’s dirty politics team started rumours in the north that Peters was taking the seat for granted and not carrying out his duties as an electorate MP.
In simple terms, they’ve been saying that Winston never visits the north.
That’s bollocks. Winston actually lives in his electorate. He spends more time there than, say, John Key does in Helensville. Since being elected as the local MP, Winston has hired electorate staff and opened offices around the region. He has regular clinics in the electorate and has regularly been seen in the many towns that are doing it tough up north.
However, Winston hasn’t wasted his time sucking up to the wealthy nobs of Keri Keri who run both the local council and the local National Party organisation. That’s probably upset them almost as much as losing such a blue ribbon seat. They’re used to their local MP doing as he’s told.
The latest smear from National is that Winston only visits the north to go fishing. John Key made the extraordinairy claim in Parliament, where his lies go unchecked. He prefaced that remark by echoing the dirty politics line about Peter’s workload in the north:
“I dare say that Minister [Steven] Joyce now knows more about Northland than the member does. In actually having been there once this year, he has probably been there more than the member has.”
That’s exactly the line the Nats have been trying to sow for months. Ok, it’s not true, but that’s not the point when it comes to pig fucking stories.
But Winston is no mug. He has a challenge for the Nats.
Provide evidence that he has gone fishing and he’ll donate $100k to charity.
“I challenge the Prime Minister and I will pay to his favourite charity, not himself, $100,000, if he can find one witness that has seen me out on my fishing boat, fishing, since the Northland byelection.” says the NZ First leader.
He’s further challenged serial liar John Key to stump up the same amount if no proof is forthcoming. Sensibly, Winston’s not holding his breath:
“He won’t, of course, which is why he should apologise, pay $100,000 to a Northland charity of my choosing, and stop wasting Parliament’s Question Time with such blatant untruths.”
Yep. However, the PM has been wasting Parliament’s time for 7 years already so it’s probably unlikely he’ll stop now.
There is a serious side to this nasty smear.
Firstly, it’s further confirmation that National have not abandoned dirty politics.
Secondly, it’s yet another indicator that NZ First will not be helping the Tories form the next Government. The more the right try and knife Peters, the more likely it is he will look to his left when he makes his decisions about coalitions and confidence and supply. That’s a good thing, obviously.
Clearly, National have not learned the lessons of the Northland by-election.
Today, the Nats have banned Winston from riding on a school bus. No, really.
The MP wanted to check for himself the state of the school bus service, specifically those buses forced to use gravel roads and the many one lane bridges National still haven’t got around to replacing despite the promises made during the by-election.
By all means, keep attacking Winston, National. You’re doing a great job of burning off your electoral support with mad schemes such as the TPPA and the pointless flag referendum. You may as well finish the job by ruining any chance of having NZ First as a coalition partner after the next election.
After the Ratana celebrations, it’s clear that the Maori Party are far less likely to be part of the blue team next time around, too.
So that just leaves a haircut and a hologram.
Good luck with that, John.