Monday, April 22, 2024

FROM THE RIDGE: Winnie, is that you?

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From the Ridge (FTR): Winston, you are back! Winston Peters (WP): Of course I’m back, I’ve never gone away. FTR: Well, it’s just that you were ubiquitous before the election and then after your electoral defeat, you completely disappeared from sight. Until this month.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

WP: What do you mean by ubiquitous?

FTR: You are the wordsmith. You know perfectly well what I mean. Omnipresent, universal, pervasive and abundant. Everywhere. You probably had as much media attention as Judith Collins.

WP: Why do you media types try to ascribe words to my actions? I was just doing my job. I was holding the Government to account.

FTR: Hold on. Weren’t you part of the Government? You were in coalition with Labour, as far as I remember.

WP: We were in there to keep Labour honest, and you only have to see what has happened since to see what a good job we were doing. I’m told daily by New Zealanders that they regret greatly that NZ First is not there doing what we did for the previous three years.

FTR: But if folk thought you were doing such a great job, how come only 2.6% of those who voted, voted for you?

WP: I’ll tell you why. Because the media misrepresented us, because the Serious Fraud Office conducted a James Coney-like investigation into our affairs and because sometimes the voters don’t know a good thing when they see it.

FTR: Thanks for reminding me about the SFO investigation. Given almost every other party has an investigation going on, I’d forgotten about yours. Where’s it up to? Those two fellows look in a degree of trouble.

WP: You know I can’t talk about it. It’s subjudice. Did you even listen to my speech to the NZ First annual conference? You should be more interested in what we are going to do for NZ politics than what has gone before.

FTR: Yes, I listened to it. All eight pages. I have to say it went from one grievance to another. You seemed to have a real bee in your bonnet about the prevalence of NZ being called Aotearoa, which I hadn’t come across as a troublesome issue but maybe there’s currency in it, who knows? Getting stuck into the Greens, the Government, the proposed cycle bridge across the harbour, electric vehicles, National, separatism, te reo, the media, wokeness, cancel culture and a host of other irritants are sure to appeal all over the place, but is dog whistling enough to regather the troops?

WP: Look here, sonny. These aren’t grievances, they are justifiable concerns of many New Zealanders. The sooner the likes of you realise this, the better.

FTR: You even went on later to accuse National of being “sex maniacs”, which is a bit rough and unnecessary.

WP: Don’t you read the papers?

FTR: The crux of the matter is whether you seriously believe NZ First can make a comeback at the next election?

WP: I don’t see why not. We have a well-regarded brand and a great team and yes, we will be back at the next election.

FTR: When you lose loyalists and good performers like Ron Mark and Tracy Martin, one must wonder about the depth of that team.

WP: No one is irreplaceable.

FTR: What about you though? It’s difficult to see NZ First having any chance of getting back in if you are not the leader. Have you got another round in you?

WP: I’ll lead the party in the 2023 campaign if the party wants me to, and if I’m fit and motivated.

FTR: They will want you for sure, but it will be interesting to see how the latter two provisos pan out. I’ll be honest, I’ve missed you. And Trump. It’s no fun or point having one of these chats with the likes of Biden or Ardern. I’ll be watching with interest what you decide to do in 18 months.

WP: You’ll find out in good time. Now I must go. Thanks.

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