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Winston Peters Column Bay of Plenty times: ‘Nat blitzkrieg finishes Act’

Please find attached a copy of

Winston Peters Column

Bay of Plenty Times

April 30th

Nat blitzkrieg finishes Act

It is not often that one feels sorry for Rodney Hide but the seismic political events of the past week must have left New Zealanders gobsmacked.

When the dust had settled on Thursday there stood Rodney deposed, destroyed and bereft of any response save lamely reciting his belief in democracy.

In circumstances unparalleled anywhere in the democratic world, a party leader had been replaced by an outsider not even a member of that party.

And the new and old leader kept reminding observers of their long-held friendship.

This was the stuff of a Shakespearean tragedy, whether Hamlet or Julius Caesar.

Breathtakingly brutal behind-the-scenes scheming towards personal destruction, which begs the question: if that is how they treat each other then how would they treat outsiders or you?

What was the lightning rod which led to this?

Simply, it had everything to do with the polls.

For, contrary to many of the public polls on popularity, National’s inside polls, like Labour’s, are much more reliable and analytical, and warned the National Party that a victory in 2011 was by no means certain or secure.

Last Sunday’s Star-Times Horizon Poll put the gap between the so-called left and right groupings at just on 3 per cent, and very similar to National’s own polling.

Put aside these political groupings, the real issue here is that the reliable polls all indicated that Rodney Hide was dog tucker in Epsom and so was Act nationwide.

Time to bring to a head a drastic plan.

Hence the Easter uprising of Brash and the demolition of the man in the yellow jacket.

Who was behind it, that is, behind Brash and John Banks – both still members of the National Party?

Forget one’s personal preference but it does not take a Sherlock Holmes to work this one out.

National has completed its takeover of the Act Party in time to organise its election campaign. It was a political blitzkrieg.

In effect, the right now has two teams but the key operatives in the B Team belong to the A Team. Confused?

So must Rodney and the Act Party be at this time.

Desperate parties indeed take desperate measures.

These startling events will need serious sugar coating but one thing is certain.

All the participants would have acted honourably with only the national interest in mind.

This is one for the Tui ads.

And how will all this go down with the New Zealand voter?

Many in the National Party will applaud the outcome, as will some business interests regardless of the process – a “means justifies the ends” excuse that in former times the right always used to accuse the left of.

That used to be the defining difference.

Clearly, it no longer is.

And across the political divide there will be cries of foul and grubby politics.

This will be accompanied by a period of euphoria for some and depression for others, depending on which part of the political spectrum one comes from.

To some it is brilliant, to others it is bizarre.

Don Brash is a National Party member and indeed a former leader of the same National Party.

He and the current leader, John Key, now have to pretend they are in different parties.

However, whatever the reaction, it will be short lived for there is a Budget to be announced very soon and, within a week of that date, the political landscape will be much clearer as New Zealand heads towards a tipping-point election in November.

Some weeks ago, I predicted in this column that the Maori Party experiment would end in tears. It has.

Four predictions can now be made.

The first, that voters are in for a real rollercoaster ride over the next few months.

Second, that when New Zealanders have had time to absorb this week’s events their belief, such as it is, in politicians will be seriously shaken.

Third, changing the Act Party name won’t conceal the enormous duplicity behind these extraordinary political arrangements.

Fourth, the strategy behind this week’s machinations may work in theory but it does not, and will not, work in practice.

That is because New Zealanders are still one of the most educated people in the world.

Rodney Hide might have been “gone by lunchtime”, but he won’t be the only one.


May 2, 2011 Posted by | Fighting corruption in NZ, Human rights | Leave a comment


Chief Reporter



Looters Stay Away


The revelation that all of Christchurch’s publicly-owned trading assets could be in danger of being sold due to a “legal loophole” in the law establishing the new State authority to run the city whilst it is rebuilt after the earthquakes should set alarm bells ringing loudly. If that comes to pass, it would be the single biggest instance of earthquake-related looting yet seen. American writer Naomi Klein coined the phrase “disaster capitalism” in the wake of the Bush Administration’s criminally negligent response to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina catastrophe in New Orleans, where Big Business and its political mouthpieces used the situation as an excuse for an orgy of corporatisation and privatisation. If such disaster capitalism is inflicted on Christchurch, that will be the “third big one” to slam into the city. And it will be the one with the most long term destructive effects.


Of course, Government Ministers have said that there is no such intention. The value of a politician’s solemn vow can be gauged from those Act MPs who only days ago publicly declared that Rodney Hide had their undying support as leader. Truth is an elastic concept in politics. And flogging off Christchurch’s assets sounds like a routine prescription from Dr Brash, Act’s new leader and coupmaster. There’s no secret about where he stands on the subject of public assets. And Brash’s ideological soulmate, the Business Roundtable’s Roger Kerr, has already called for the sale of all or some of Christchurch’s assets to pay for the rebuild. CAFCA is sure that it’s purely coincidental that any that were sold would just happen to fall into the hands of the very same transnational corporations that make up a large part of the Business Roundtable. Ever since it branded Christchurch the “People’s Republic of Christchurch” for having the temerity to hang onto its publicly-owned assets (in social housing alone, the Christchurch City Council is the country’s second biggest landlord, after the State) the Business Roundtable and its political mouthpieces has wanted an example made of the city and its assets flogged off.


If central or local government is foolish enough to try to go down this path, they will be buying a fight. In 2006 the City Council came a spectacular gutser when public opposition and a shrewd strategic intervention by the Port of Otago thwarted its cunning plan to hock off the Lyttelton Port Company to a Hong Kong transnational corporation.


And if Ministers want ideas on how to finance the massive rebuild, start by implementing the proposal to slap a small earthquake recovery levy on higher income earners. Reverse the tax cuts that were a blatant hand out to the rich. And crack down hard on transnational corporate tax dodgers who suck extortionate profits out of the country whilst not paying their fair share (the likes of the Big Four Australian-owned banks who settled with IRD in December 2009 for $2.2 billion, the biggest tax avoidance case in NZ’s history). There’s no shortage of money in the country – it’s just a question of who has got it, and of ensuring that it stays here to be used for the public benefit.


Murray Horton




Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa

Box 2258, Christchurch, New Zealand



May 2, 2011 Posted by | Fighting water privatisation in NZ, Transparency in Govt spending | Leave a comment