Old nemeses Peters returns to haunt National

by Jake Quinn

It’s OK, other people have missed Winston Raymond Peters too. Don’t worry, it’s not that you love those who parrot anachronisms like “they only have ‘one quarter’ Maori in them” or are racist and xenophobic,  because you don’t – you’re a good guy. It’s just that, while you hadn’t realised it until this morning, you’ve missed the chuckle, the self assured grin and the pure politicking (even though – deep down – you’re sure he knows better) that the boyishly charming prick exudes.

My Grandmother voted for Winston Peters because he had nice hair. Seriously. And she, like her blue rinsed friends at the creepy purpose-built old-person village, were they alive today, bless them, would be smiling ear to ear because Mr Peters, ladies and gentlemen, is back.

Imagine how John Key and Chris Finlayson felt this morning as they watched TVNZ Q+A knowing that their little foray into consensusy nation building race relations had just found itself a slight hitch. That is, by having an actual opposition – and not just any, but the grand National Party nemeses himself.

The Foreshore and Seabed issue is perfect for Winston to gain traction with the pre-mixed Bourbon and Cola swigging voter and he might well have just filled the reactionary vacuum that is present only because Labour and the Greens are the opposition.

The handling of the review, and what to replace it with, was always going to be an incredibly sensitive issue and one that could pay huge dividends politically for both National and the Maori Party if middle NZ take the medicine. But Winston, if successful (which he hopefully isn’t for all of our sakes), could just turn it into a polling nightmare for the government.

Oh well, there is no such thing as a free lunch and Peters has just made it a little bit harder for National to stay ahead of public opinion on this one.

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