Who took down Winston?

datePosted on 06:00, January 16th, 2009 by Anita

Winston Peters did not fall, he wasn’t even just pushed, he was dragged down by an effective tactical campaign. Some political operative got everything they needed – the evidence, the source, a couple of journos, a couple of commentators and a couple of politicians – and they went for it, and they won. 

It’s tempting to see it as a joint National-Act campaign with a disgruntled ex NZ First staffer feeding them information, but the idea that National and Act managed to work that closely together and completely shared everything seems really far fetched. Also the main source will have needed a single main contact.

So maybe it was a National campaign, carefully orchestrated, inviting Act in when needed. National had the biggest benefit from the end of NZF, so that counts for it. But… National ran a very low risk campaign and this was not a low risk strategy: imagine the fallout if the media had covered the strategy orchestration by the Nats, or if Peters really did have the material on the Nats he’d always claimed.

Ok, possibly an Act campaign which occasionally invited in National? Much more plausible from a risk perspective: Act could’ve withstood this going bad without any real difficulty. But… if you were a disgrunted ex-NZFer, would you go to Act? And how much did Act really get from the death of NZF? And does Act have the internal political infrastructure to pull this off?

Final option, someone on the right but outside both parties – relationships and trust with both parties, but not beholden to either. So no political risk to either party, more plausible deniability for journos (it’s not coming straight from a party operative) and the ability to co-ordinate across and beyond party lines. But… there are only a few right operatives that skillful who aren’t in parties and surely someone’s checked them out.

So, who did it? Who had the skill, ability and connections to take down Winston Peters?

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46 Responses to “Who took down Winston?”

  1. Keith on January 16th, 2009 at 06:29

    Cui Bono, It’ll be a hoot when you find out.

  2. Phil Sage (sagenz) on January 16th, 2009 at 06:52

    Interesting analysis. I suggest personalities more interesting than parties. ON that basis Rodney is much the most plausible given his crusading similarities to Winston past.

  3. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 07:35

    Keith,

    Cui Bono

    IMO the right, National more than any other, the National right more that the National centrists.

    Phil,

    I wondered about Hide, but running this would have been a full time job, and I don’t think he had time to do it.

  4. Max Ritchie on January 16th, 2009 at 08:24

    Winston Peters self-destructed. Of course he was helped by the National Party and, importantly, Rodney Hide, but no campaign was needed. He had ample opportuntiy to dig himself out of the numerous holes he dug for himself but that’s not in his nature. Having got way with half-truths and mis-spokes he ended up confusing himself. Good riddance. The only surprise is that he almost got way with it – another half percent and he’d be there still, grinning and talking rubbish, lapped up by the oldies using their free ferry trips to Waiheke.

  5. Tim Ellis on January 16th, 2009 at 08:28

    The rumour I heard was that a former National MP and NZ First staffer had been trying to sell his story for some time-about a year before the election.

    It’s tempting to think there was a grand conspiracy, but I think that discounts a couple of crucial factors.

    1. The crucial information related to two separate items of NZ First funding, on the one hand from the Vela Brothers and on the second hand from Owen Glenn. Very few people were involved with or had knowledge of the detail of the Vela payments. At various stages they were known to Winston Peters, Brian Henry, Wayne Peters, Roger McClay and Ross Meurant. The first three were unlikely.

    2. The Glenn payment was also known to Mike Williams, and disclosed to Helen Clark. Clark is unlikely to have spoken to anybody about it. Williams may not have been so discreet. Nor, apparently, was Glenn.

    3. Rumours had been circulating for some time before they hit the news early last year about the Glenn donation. Peters didn’t help the situation by denying it with his celebrated “NO” sign, his war with the media, and generally truculent behaviour.

    4. Peters’ posturing and game-playing over the Glenn donation, and Glenn’s public musing about a post to Monaco contributed more than any potential campaign to destabilise Peters. The conspiracy element of that just doesn’t wash with me. It was Peters’ own behaviour and Clark’s see-no-evil attitude that made it ten times the scandal that it shouldn’t have been.

    5. The Privileges Committee proceedings were a farce, and that farce was mostly attributable to Peters’, and the decision by Labour MPs on the Committee, particularly Cullen, to defend Peters. By any measure that was a very poor tactical decision by Cullen.

    6. It’s nice to think that trail of events might have come about through a jack-up by the National or Act parties, but neither of them, nor some shadowy outsider, could have manipulated Peters, Williams, Cullen and Glenn to behave the way that they did. Nor did they have anything to do with the SFO’s decision to look at the allegations. It was convenient for Peters to allege that the SFO was politically biased, but that always stretched credibility.

    7. The timing of the disclosure of the Vela donations does seem to me to have been a deliberate attempt to destabilise Peters. Phil Kitchin had been working on that story for a long time, and had documented evidence of donations. I don’t doubt that he would have run the story much earlier if he’d had the documents, but didn’t receive them until the crucial time.

    8. I don’t believe National or Act had anything to do with the Vela information. I believe that information came from a former, disgruntled NZ First insider with intimate knowledge of the Vela family and their relationship with NZ First. If Hide had had the information as early as Kitchin had, he would have run with it. Instead Hide was running the scampi allegations, which always seemed pretty weak to me.

  6. BLiP on January 16th, 2009 at 08:57

    Seems to me most likely Winston was put to pasture by a cabal within the media.

    Lets round up the usual suspects (John Armstrong, Jane Clifton, Richard Griffin, Richard Harman, Colin James, Richard Long, Neale McMillan, Oliver Riddell, Tom Scott, Barry Soper, and Ian Templeton) and start sifting their work over the crucial period.

  7. The ex-expat on January 16th, 2009 at 09:08

    He hung himself and good riddance. We are well shot of his racist politics politics.

  8. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 09:18

    Max Ritchie & The ex-expat,

    Yep, he did the deeds, he dug the holes and he provided the rope for his own hanging.

    And yep, we’re better off without that kind of racism in Parliament (tho in some ways overt racism is safer than the covert racism that remains).

    But he did not hang himself; someone(s) used the rope and did it. Peters had been up to these tricks for ages, other politicians were and still are up to them. The timing, the co-ordination, overcoming Peters’ defence strategies mean it has to have been a well strategised political operation.

  9. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 09:21

    BLiP,

    Lets round up the usual suspects (John Armstrong, Jane Clifton, Richard Griffin, Richard Harman, Colin James, Richard Long, Neale McMillan, Oliver Riddell, Tom Scott, Barry Soper, and Ian Templeton) and start sifting their work over the crucial period.

    I can’t see any of those behind this, for a start they’ve tried and failed in the past – I doubt they have the skill. Secondly I find it hard to believe any of them would have been willing to share the information they had so widely (IMO one of the signs it was a political campaign is the wide variety of media outlets who got and used material at just-the-right-time). Finally, would any of them have chosen to take no credit?

  10. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 09:25

    Tim Ellis,

    Your list of reasons it was not a grand conspiracy all say to me that it was an orchestrated campaign :)

    1) So many rumours for so long, but serendipitously they crystallise out at the perfect moment?

    2) Suddenly the evidence was there rather than just chatter.

    3) So many issues coming to a head all together; Vela, Glenn, Scampi… . Each individually might have been survivable, but someone must’vee sat on evidence until they had enough to be absolutely sure.

    But yes, I agree with your analysis about Hide. If he was behind this would he have been running the weakest and oldest allegations? He constantly gave the impression of having come slightly late to the party, while he shouted loudest he never had anything new.

  11. Max Ritchie on January 16th, 2009 at 09:27

    Anita You’re sure it was not just a matter of an opportunty presenting itself, some info coming someone’s way (Rodney?), others (e.g. the media) getting on the bandwagon, a kicking when he’s down? I find the evidence of a well-planned conspiracy lacking. Without his well-aimed foot shot, actually a volley, there’d be no departure. Still, if you are right, then we need to know whodunnit so we can give them a medal.

  12. Thomas Beagle on January 16th, 2009 at 09:31

    Oh, I agree that there was a campaign against Winston Peters. Someone obviously had the inside information and was releasing it a bit at a time.

    My only regret was that I couldn’t help them – and I think that partly explains what happened.

    Winston Peters has annoyed and offended so many people over the years that there didn’t need to be a vast conspiracy against him. It just needed one person with dirt on him and people would be falling over themselves to help.

    Of course, it did seem odd that Winston was so keen to assist the conspirators in their work…

  13. Tim Ellis on January 16th, 2009 at 09:35

    (IMO one of the signs it was a political campaign is the wide variety of media outlets who got and used material at just-the-right-time). Finally, would any of them have chosen to take no credit?

    That’s good reasoning that it wasn’t a media conspiracy. It doesn’t prove there was any conspiracy against Winston or a political campaign.

    With the Vela donations, Kitchin did the hard yards, dug for evidence, got an exclusive source (probably Meurant), got the documents, and ran with it. The rest of the media followed suit in a feeding frenzy.

    Helen Clark sat on knowledge that Owen Glenn had donated to Winston for six months before disclosing it. That wasn’t any National Party campaign at work. That was her attempt to push the issue out beyond the election. The timing had everything to do with Winston’s posturing and Labour’s willingness to gamble that the issue would go away.

  14. Rich on January 16th, 2009 at 10:51

    Peters was bigoted, racist and corrupt.

    So I guess anyone who didn’t like that might have been involved in his downfall. But really, making a categorical denial of something that was true, and demonstrably so showed his ability to shoot himself in the foot without outside assistance.

  15. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 11:40

    Rich,

    Peters was bigoted, racist and corrupt.

    And had been for many years, along with many other politicians.

    Many people had disliked him and wished for his downfall for many years (as is true of many other politicians).

    . But really, making a categorical denial of something that was true, and demonstrably so

    Again, not the first time he’d done that, and something done by many other politicians many other times.

    That doesn’t, in any way, excuse what he did or say that the seeds of his downfall hadn’t been around for a long time. But it does beg the question of who made it happen and for what purpose.

  16. Carol on January 16th, 2009 at 11:55

    Watching parliament last year, I was struck by how focused, single-minded and well-prepared Hide was in his attacks on Peters. In contrast, I saw him debating on some other topics on TV, where he just lazily repeated his general lines about free-market, free-enterprise to solve everything, with little preparation focused on the topic under discussion. I’m thinking particularly of the digital media debate on TV and online.

    I’ve never liked Peters or his anti-immigrant policies, but I find Hide even more odious.

  17. The ex-expat on January 16th, 2009 at 12:04

    Again I reiterate the enemy of the enemy is not my friend. Does it actually matter who bought him down? Peters pissed off enough people that one day he was eventually going to get his comeuppance.

    My money is on the guy with the biggest wallet.

  18. Robinsod on January 16th, 2009 at 12:12

    What’s more interesting is the question of who is preparing a similar campaign against Hide, when it will launch and whether it will be picked up as enthusiastically by the media.

    Word I have is he may have been supplementing his MP’s income in a somewhat creative manner…

  19. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 12:23

    The ex-expat,

    Again I reiterate the enemy of the enemy is not my friend. Does it actually matter who bought him down?

    I reckon it does, precisely because the enemy of the enemy is not my friend.

    There is a political operative in NZ who has taken down a canny politician and party leader, and destroyed a political party. They did it for their own ends (I seriously doubt it was Peters’ racism and bigotry) and they got away with it without any media or public scrutiny.

    That is a formidable achievement, and one that deserves some analysis; partly to understand the means, partly to understand the motive.

    They’re very slick, they’re very effective, they’re not my friend (or yours I suspect). To pick up ‘Sod’s point, they’re not a crusader for transparency or justice; their next target will be picked for their political ends nothing more.

  20. Rich on January 16th, 2009 at 12:43

    I think the lesson for this is partly that political parties shouldn’t rely on wealthy supporters for their sustenance. It isn’t neccesary, if a party has genuine grass roots support it doesn’t need big dollars. (As far as I know most Green funding comes from individual supporters).

  21. So many blogs . . . « Homepaddock on January 16th, 2009 at 12:44

    […] Somewhat further to the left, and without Alf’s sense of humour, is another newish blog, Kiwipolitico which has joined my list of daily reads. Today Anita is wanting to know who took down Winston? […]

  22. The ex-expat on January 16th, 2009 at 13:19

    I think the lesson for this is partly that political parties shouldn’t rely on wealthy supporters for their sustenance. It isn’t neccesary, if a party has genuine grass roots support it doesn’t need big dollars. (As far as I know most Green funding comes from individual supporters).

    Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner!

    I’d add in that in his role as foreign affairs minister took him away from New Zealand far too often for a leader of a small party and given NZ First’s voting base, wasn’t the wisest choice of portfolio.

    Anita don’t blame on conspiracy what can easily attributed to ineptitude. For years people from across the political spectrum were happy to see his political career end and schemed to do so Winston but always had a good support base to withstand the attacks.

    So in addition to his horrible politics, his time overseas plus demographics finally also worked against him.

  23. Inventory2 on January 16th, 2009 at 13:26

    Anita – you’ve left out one alternative – the conservative wing of the Labour Party, which viewed the deal with Peters as toxic to Labour’s re-election prospects.

    But I don’t believe it was any of those. Peters dug his own hole, aided and abetted by Helen Clark.

  24. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 13:35

    Inventory2,

    I’ll add another more likely one: the left-wing of the Labour Party. They knew they were going to lose, they blamed creeping centrism, they hated WP and NZF for being chosen before the Greens.

    But I think that’s about as far fetched as the conservative wing of Labour. Labour was far too busy throwing everything they could at winning again to run that good a campaign.

  25. Julie Fairey on January 16th, 2009 at 13:58

    This is a very interesting post and thread.

    I tend towards the conspiracy theory myself and I think you make a compelling case Anita.

    As for it being the left wing of the Labour Party, I too find that unlikely. My take on Labour last year was a high level of hope about winning the election, and a growing realisation from many of the activists as November got closer – that they might need Winston to make it back.

  26. bustedblonde on January 16th, 2009 at 14:05

    It was a wise man – a royal figure, a mammilian and mammarian, and a prickly tart, a good journalist and some very interesting papers in a wine box that belonged to a deadman. Oh and chuck in a lover of rock orifices. Money – apart from the stuff Winston had, didnt come into it. And as much as you wont believe it the motives were actually based on a collective belief that it was time to get rid of the corrupt prick.

    Were we strategic – yip – tactical – yip and shit did we have fun.

    Oh and there is a book in it.

  27. Carrier on January 16th, 2009 at 15:07

    Anita, in your first paragraph you set out a speculative theory, but then fail to supply hard evidence of any concerted effort to dislodge Peters.

    Why was an organised campaign the inevitable conclusion that you reached? There’s at least as much “evidence” of fatal incompetence, complacency and carelessness on Peters’ part as there is of vested-interest adversaries working in unison.

    If there was an orchestrated campaign involved, it took an uncommonly long time to come to fruition.

  28. pb on January 16th, 2009 at 15:20

    Carrier, BB’s already confirmed there was a campaign, and it was fairly obvious that the information coming out was timed to perfection.

    Winnie had been up to a lot of mischief over the years, and the strategy was able to give the smear campaign legs over a very long period of time.

    It would take incompetence on a grand scale to orchestrate that many cock-ups, leaks and sheer stupidity, and Winnie’s team weren’t that bad.

    PB.

  29. Greg on January 16th, 2009 at 15:49

    This conspiracy thing reminds me of the Standard.

  30. artvanderlay00 on January 16th, 2009 at 16:40

    It was ACT. They had the most to gain from NZF’s death. Not Rodney – look further down the list. Who had the time, the smarts and the money?

  31. Rich on January 16th, 2009 at 16:44

    You don’t think it had anything to do with Owen Glenn being pissed off that Winston didn’t do what he was bribed to do?

    (i.e. Give him the honorary consul post that would let him evade tax).

  32. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 16:45

    Greg,

    I’d call it a well organised political campaign, but if you want to call it a conspiracy go ahead: you’ll need to be consistent and start talking about

    1) The conspiracy to install a National government
    2) The conspiracy to bring in paid parental leave
    3) The conspiracy to stop the Carbon Tax
    4) The conspiracy to legalise prostitution
    5) The conspiracies for/against the repeal of section 59.

    Every single one of those was, to use my wording, an organised political campaign. Each one had someone running the campaign, each one gathered evidence, sympathetic journos, commentators and politicians. Co-ordinated political campaigns to alter legislation, the make up of parliament, policy and public opinion are normal.

    I am honestly surprised that anyone thinks there wasn’t a campaign to take down Peters. I had expected some people to argue against the possible scenarios, and perhaps to put up some alternatives (I expected someone to put up a schism within NZF one, for example), but not that people would think it was purely a series of unlikely uncoordinated leaks and coincidences.

  33. Anita on January 16th, 2009 at 16:49

    artvanderlay00,

    How long did his ability to be separated from Act if things went bad last? From memory Act didn’t name him til well after the anti-Peters campaign had succeeded.

    Rich,

    I think that’s a damned good reason for Glenn to have supported the campaign, but he couldn’t’ve run it: wrong country, wrong skills, not enough of a political gamesman (so gossip says). But yeah, I can see why he swung in behind it.

  34. Lee - MWT on January 16th, 2009 at 17:55

    Winston Peters is the correct answer.

  35. Rex Widerstrom on January 16th, 2009 at 18:43

    The timing, the co-ordination, overcoming Peters’ defence strategies mean it has to have been a well strategised political operation…

    There is a political operative in NZ who has taken down a canny politician and party leader, and destroyed a political party. They did it for their own ends…

    Really, Anita, before indulging in such speculation you could have spoken to some of the people involved.

    Tim Ellis adroitly demolishes the conspiracy theories with this:

    neither [Act or National], nor some shadowy outsider, could have manipulated Peters, Williams, Cullen and Glenn to behave the way that they did.

    During the whole saga I had countless calls and emails from journos (some of whom you’ve named above, and others) testing speculative ideas, trying to confirm rumours, and in some cases expressing frustration that they couldn’t quite pull something together to a standard that’d satisfy their editors.

    I also talked to and exchanged emails with Rodney Hide, who was similarly casting around for information (or, if he in fact had all this information given to him and was orchestrating it as some imagined, did a bloody good job of appearing to have only pieces of the puzzle, like the rest of us).

    Winston has done a lot of things during the course of his career to upset a lot of people. And I’m not talking just the big, scandalous, scampi-level stuff. He’s a figure that polarises. He’s also someone for whom many people develop an almost Messaniac admiration and thus, if he fails or betrays them, that can turn into an abiding hatred.

    My distinct impression ties in with that of Busted Blonde:

    And as much as you wont believe it the motives were actually based on a collective belief that it was time to get rid of the corrupt prick.

    The many, many people involved were in erratic but fairly constant contact with one another and, as they in turn consulted others who added yet another misdeed to the list, fuelling the collective determination, the feeling was, if I can borrow from Gough Whitlam, “It’s Time”.

    And of course, as others have commented, Winston’s constant tactical mis-steps along the way simply greased the slope.

    There’s not just one book, I think, but at least two. The one BB’s talking about, that will detail the misdeeds and the intrigue. And another, which might go some way to explaining how a man with so much potential so carefully authored his own failure.

  36. SPC on January 16th, 2009 at 19:06

    Was there was an organised conspiracy against the return of NZF/Winston Peters? Any more than in previous elections by his political rivals?

    There was the realisation in 2005 that a National led government could not do what it wanted – sell state assets (and thus the Orewa campaign to undermine the Peters support base) if it was reliant on NZF. So when he survived and chose to support a Labour led government, the determination to get him in 2008 was born.

    And what a coalition saw that economic nationalist (the last of the Muldoonists on the centre-right) as a block on their vision for the country. People not that concerned about home affordability or such economic fundamentals as developing an export base to secure a trade surplus. One wonders what their future vision for this country will involve, beyond us becoming tenants in our own domestic economy.

  37. Carrier on January 16th, 2009 at 20:59

    It would take incompetence on a grand scale to orchestrate that many cock-ups, leaks and sheer stupidity, and Winnie’s team weren’t that bad.

    Yep, I think they were that bad. Aided, of course, by Peters’ complacency, 6 months complicity by Helen Clark – which looked terrible when she confessed before being exposed – and the crass bumbling of Mike Williams in the background.

    Peters was ultimately undone only at the Privileges Committee where there were enough MPs of principle – especially Maori and Greens – to determine Peters’ moral fate decisively without a need to impose the ultimate sanction. Despite the orchestrated Labour and NZF defence of the indefensible, evidence from the parties – the credible Glenn and the “confused” Peters and Henry – was enough to leave the public in no lingering doubt about Peters’ fitness to sit in Parliament and act as a Minister of the Crown.

    Peters’ peers and the public at large brought down Peters. While many people did their bit to expose him along the way, there is no compelling evidence of a closely co-ordinated campaign.

  38. Fairfacts Media on January 17th, 2009 at 00:44

    I think Whale Oil had some role to play as well in the downfall of Winston.
    He certainly targeted him with various posts.
    Most notably was THAT PHOTO of Winston leaving/ entering a plane when he had denied flying on campaign matters.
    That certainly helped remove what little credibility he had in the closing weeks of the campaign.

    But yes, there’s a great book t be written on the whole affair.

  39. Shaun Wallis on January 17th, 2009 at 18:20

    Who took down Winston Peters?

    Himself, and the voter.

    His lies, shit-stirring and corruptive acts finally caught up with him.

    NZers had a gutsfull, and even the prospect of having Winston back in as their local MP for the people of Tauranga scared them into voting Simon Bridges by a landslide.

    Good job.

  40. Anita on January 17th, 2009 at 22:13

    Rex,

    I think we agree more than we seem to :)

    Yes, there was much scurrying and sniffing for evidence by just about everyone and their dog.

    Yes, Hide appeared to have far less than he tried to appear to have.

    Yes, there were many many people with good reasons to want to take Peter down.

    But (and maybe this is where we differ)

    The central and best evidence was not spread far and wide in an uncoordinated way. Whatever noisy chaos was going on round the edges at the centre it looks well organised and quiet.

    When you say

    the feeling was, if I can borrow from Gough Whitlam, “It’s Time”.

    What was it time for? The end of Peters the racist? The end of the Clark-Peters government? The end of Peters the anti-privatiser? A win for the right? The end of Muldoon style of Nationalism?

  41. illuminatedtiger on January 17th, 2009 at 23:27

    Looked to me like it was orchestrated by the National Party pulling in two of their better known activists.

  42. BLiP on January 18th, 2009 at 01:45

    Antia – you said in relation to my “media cabal” theory:

    I can’t see any of those behind this, for a start they’ve tried and failed in the past – I doubt they have the skill. Secondly I find it hard to believe any of them would have been willing to share the information they had so widely (IMO one of the signs it was a political campaign is the wide variety of media outlets who got and used material at just-the-right-time). Finally, would any of them have chosen to take no credit?

    I can absolutely see a media cabal. Of all New Zealanders, the press gallery would have known just how sick were the politics of Winston Peters. For the good of the nation (in the Gallery’s humble opinion) would be the elimination of New Zealand First.

    The sheer cynicism of the man, preying on hate and fear while declaiming the baubles of office yet his legacy, after 33 years in Parliament is to be that he judged by his peers as having “knowingly providing false or misleading information on a return of pecuniary interests”.

    He had to go.

    The idea that the Press Gallery didn’t know what Petes was up to is laughable. As to whether or not Press Gallery individuals would wish to claim the glory, I dunno. Maybe it was just they thought they were doing it for our own good and decided to keep their mouths shut.

  43. James on January 18th, 2009 at 02:38

    Winston took himself down by being Winston…..he could never apoligise or accept blame and he basically pulled the noose tighter and tighter around his own neck that his enemies had draped over him…..the pissed off public did the rest come election day.

  44. Rex Widerstrom on January 18th, 2009 at 03:57

    What was it time for? The end of Peters the racist? The end of the Clark-Peters government? The end of Peters the anti-privatiser? A win for the right? The end of Muldoon style of Nationalism?

    Take your pick. That’s where the conspiracy theories fall apart. All the people whose efforts combined to bring about Winston’s downfall (not counting those of the man himself, of course) had different reasons for wanting to see an end to him and NZF.

    Personally, partly it was what led me to walk away and blow the whistle in 1996 – the cynical manipulation of the public annoys me in any context, but when it’s primarily for personal enrichment (in power and prestige as well as money) it’s enough to motivate me to spend the time and effort I wouldn’t otherwise (though back then it was Michael Laws doing the dissembling while Winston appeared incapable of intervening while the party he’d worked to build, and staked his future on, was dismantled from 30% to 13% and falling).

    And partly because I actually believe in the original concepts on which the party was founded (referring matters to the electorate etc) but know there’s room for only one party espousing such principles in the NZ political landscape. For a party that genuinely holds to those beliefs to have any hope of flowering, the noxious weed that was NZF needed a dose of electoral DDT :-D

    Busted Blonde, for example, seems to have been motivated by a little bit of the former and her association with, knowledge of and sympathy for some of the people adversely affected by Peters’ and Meurant’s dodgy fisheries deals.

    Rodney wanted Peters out of the way so he could get more attention during Question Time and to consolidate the minor party vote (or at least that part of it on the right and centre-right).

    The media wanted a good story and at least some of them revel in their self-proclaimed role as king makers (and breakers).

    And so on…

    Whatever noisy chaos was going on round the edges at the centre it looks well organised and quiet.

    That’s because by the time the media felt they had enough to start the snowball rolling some journos had been doing the research quietly for years (notably Phil Kitchin) and some sources had been drip feeding information for a similar period (notably “Eumenides”, who began sending stuff as early as 2005).

    When the media started checking the anonymous stuff against credible sources and at least some of the facts were verified, the whole thing had reached critical mass.

    Even at that point Winston could have damped the fires but instead poured fuel on them, just as I thought he would.

    For some years he hadn’t had people around him who understood him sufficiently, and were trusted enough by him, to be able to control his outbursts of temper when challenged, especially by the media.

    The thing to do in that situation is to talk to some trusted journos to find out what they want answered. Then go into Winston’s office (locking it behind you if you can) and relay the questions to him. He will yell, thump the table, call curses upon their impudence, remind you of the last bad thing that particular journo said about him, refuse to ever speak to him or her again, and claim to be about to call their editor and demand their sacking. Then he’ll tell you that you should have the whole thing under control and it’s all your fault.

    When this has abated, you say “Okay, so what are we actually going to tell the chooks?” and he’ll grin with a mix of pleasure (he loves the Bejlke-Petersen references) and embarrasment and take advice. That way the journos get their answer and trust you enough to tell you next time, understanding that’s thr only way they’ll get any sense.

    What you don’t do is cower in your office and let him storm past you holding a flaming great “NO” sign 8-)

  45. Jum on January 19th, 2009 at 12:11

    Bustedblonde/NZBusinessRoundtable, extreme right global coordination by Lord Ashcroft and Co keen to give NAct time and funding for research expertise, as opposed to a political donation, to overturn moderate governments.

    Peters was a small potato but did offer Labour a small opportunity to win a 4th term. He had to be discredited.

    The idea that Glenn, a friend of the tobacco industry and no supporter of strong women in powerful left-leaning leadership roles, didn’t enter into this donation of money game for anything other than to eliminate Peters and remove an ally of Labour once again reinforces my belief in the ostrich naivety of the average NZer and the vindictive and ruthless behaviour of the ultra powerful.

    The right will employ just about any means to win. A bit like money trading, I guess.

    PS Peters didn’t help his own case however and his last minute intention to part privatise Kiwibank hardly reassured Labour of his loyalty if he had been returned to Parliament.

    (Captcha – ‘Treasury’)

  46. Joana on January 19th, 2009 at 13:40

    While the Peters saga was the most effective malicious organised campaign to stop a Labour led govt, there were a number of others and I wouldn’t be surprised if the same people were behind most of them (dont know who they are though). Reading any of the right-wing bloogs in the lead up to the election, there were a number of (quite awful) theories floated by one then picked up by the others finally making their way into the more mainstream blogs to be read as “credible”.

    This was a dirty campaign before it had even begun, (un?)fortuneately the “right” is so much better at this than the left, and the media were extremely complicit in making it seem as if National were innocent of dirty tactics. – although I suspect they were motivated simply by boredom. lazy journalism and wanting a new set of toys to play with.

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