Anthony Hubbard has a lengthy piece on Winston Peters on Stuff this morning; check this out:
Winston Peters is giving an audience to his followers this weekend. New Zealand First calls the meeting a party conference, but that is mere euphemism.It would be easy to laugh at the cult of Winston - and perhaps we should laugh. His party is a one-man band in the purest sense: if Winston dropped dead, it would disappear. Nobody could replace him and keep the movement alive.That's why it doesn't matter that he has no deputy leader and why the party is "in no hurry" to elect one. You don't need a deputy for a prophet. What would the deputy do?Winston this weekend launches one of his familiar crusades, against immigrants. The timing is perfect. The economy is stuck, unemployment is high, there is no sign of it falling any time soon, and so it's time to revive the usual scapegoats. Stop the foreigners stealing Kiwi jobs!New Zealand First is based on xenophobia, race-baiting, class resentment and brainless adoration of the leader. That, at least, is its rhetoric and its style. Whenever Winston gets into power, he is orthodox and mildly reformist. He doesn't turn the cult's darker prejudices into policy. He was a cautious and accomplished foreign minister.His statement yesterday vowing to keep the age of entitlement for government superannuation at 65 was a classic. The move to increase the age was a big business plot to get more of our money. "It is simply the privatisation of superannuation."So there's a conspiracy of the rich against the little people. There is a murky scheme to grab our assets. The talk about fiscal crisis is nonsense. The whole thing can be fixed just by making the economy grow a bit more - and this, of course, is easy.Winston has made a career out of blaming the Other. In the 1980s he raged against the Treaty and those who backed it. In the 1990s he campaigned against Asian immigrants. Nowadays he preaches against Whanau Ora and the "bro-ocracy" and unskilled foreigners.
This is an interesting piece from Hubbard. At least he has the honesty to call NZ First and Peters for what they are; "based on xenophobia, race-baiting, class resentment and brainless adoration of the leader." In many ways, NZ First/Peters are similar to Destiny Church/Brian Tamaki; in each case the former only exists because of the charisma of the latter.
We were delighted when John Key ruled out any possibility of a deal with Winston Peters in 2008. We were equally delighted when he did likewise in 2011, a full ten months before the election. However if NZ First was able to survive without Peters from 2014 onwards, it could be a different story.