Any dispassionate survey of Peters' career puts one in mind of the apocryphal mother watching a parade and proudly proclaiming that everyone is out of step except her son.
He has done more than any other single person to bring MMP into disrepute, dawdling through post-election talks in 1996 before going with National - which he had vowed he would never do - and falling out with Jenny Shipley, who sacked him.
After saying he would spurn the baubles of office, he took the Foreign Affairs portfolio in a Labour-led administration. But he proved a liability in that coalition too, and Labour only refused to disown him because he offered them their only chance of political survival in 2008.
He is a skilled practitioner of divisive demagoguery, using alarmist and inflammatory language, in particular to cynically foment feeling against immigrants.
He introduced a vituperative sourness to political discourse which most New Zealanders found distasteful. Last, and by no means least, his hysterical hostility to media scrutiny has always been a bad look for a man who professes a commitment to transparency.
The voters of Tauranga, whose support threw Peters a lifeline in 2002 to drag the party over the five per cent threshold, have since turned their backs on him. Theirs is an example that the electorate as a whole should follow.
We agree wholeheartedly with those sentiments. Winston Peters burned his bridges in 2008 with the Owen Glenn fiasco. New Zealand First, he trumpeted, was not like other political parties; it did not accept money from big business. History will now show that New Zealand First, via at least one secret trust did indeed welcome the help of such businesspeople as Sir Robert Jones, the Vela brothers and Owen Glenn.
Peters was exposed as a hypocrite in 2008, and we doubt that anything has changed three years on. He still has a faithful, if diminishing following. He plays on fears and prejudices. But let's not pretent that his political party is anything more than a vehicle for Winston Peters. Most people would struggle to name anyone other than Peters who is standing for election via NZ First, and that suits Peters fine. He does not share the stage willingly.
Winston Peters has been a Minister in three past governments. Not once has he seen out a three-year term as a Minister. John Key is wise to rule out any possibility of working with him.
Will Labour now show the same level of integrity as Key has done? We doubt it. When Winston Peters was censured for misleading Parliament just prior to the 2008 election, the only parties to vote not to censure him were NZ First and Labour. Regular readers will know that we have little time for the Greens, but to their eternal credit, the Greens supported the motion to censure Peters because they believed that it was the right thing to do.