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Ralston dreams of politics without Winston


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Bill Ralston seeks to write Winston off as a dinosaur and thus not electable in his Herald on Sunday column. Adam as an immigrant moron who has made a substantial contribution to taxes over the years wishes that were true.

Ralston commences with:-

You can never write off Winston Peters. That well worn cliche is trotted out by commentators at every election. Except, this election, I believe at last we can write off Peters. I suspect even he is no longer confident of ever again being “happy as the MP for Tauranga” and at age 63, he is wistfully eyeing the prospect of retirement from politics in October.

Now Adam wishes to believe that.

Yet, Adam remembers discussing the dangers of Winston with colleagues, some few months after first arriving in NZ, in early 1990. My colleagues pooh poohed (sorry) my concerns; they said no one really took any notice of Winston and that he was not going to be in a position to influence events. Hmm!

Winston has managed to confound the pundits consistently. Despite his part polling poorly, he still strikes a chord with a certain type of voter.

Unfortunately, I cannot use the word moron, as Winston applies that word to those who see through him. Adam thinks that Troglodyte* will do.

*Troglodyte – One who is regarded as reclusive, reactionary, out of date, or brutish

Reactionary, out of date – very much so

Reclusive – well will do as an alternative to xenophobic as recluses tend to keep to themselves

Brutish – well just look at Winston and his behaviour to journalists for example

Therefore, Adam is worried that a sufficiency of troglodytes will vote for Winston as to see him in Parliament and potentially with the power to block the efforts of a National Government to improve the economy, living standards and national wealth.

Ralston continues:-

National has just selected its candidate for Tauranga, Simon Bridges, the party’s electorate chairman and a Crown prosecutor. He is half Peters’ age.

Bridges’ youth neatly underlines the fact that Peters is a political dinosaur, a throw-back to the era of his mentor and role model, Rob Muldoon. Bridges was barely born when Muldoon was Prime Minister and Winston was first on the hustings.

That National is willing to put up someone more than just a lame stooge means it is serious about winning the electorate and it is confident Peters and New Zealand First are dog tucker.

Adam welcomes National putting up a quality candidate and not seeking to give Peters a free ride. At least he hopes that Bridges is a quality candidate and that he will not prove to look good on paper and fail at the hustings. He will need all the wit and guile of a Crown Prosecutor to foil the old dinosaur.

He really does hope we will see the back of the Winston, Peter Brown and the assorted fellow travellers who constitute NZ First. He will have a twinge of regret at seeing Ron Mark go, but as mark and his fellow Pooh First MPs have been content to ride Poohs coat-tails for so long, only a small twinge.

Ralston makes the following point:-

The eccentric Bob Clarkson won the seat last time only by the small margin of just over 700 votes but the fact Tauranga was willing to elect someone as weird as Clarkson shows how desperate locals were to get rid of Peters. Unless Peters can come up with compromising Polaroids of his opponent in flagrante delicto with some furry woodland critter, expect Bridges to win by a much-healthier margin.

Ralston sees to sense an air of desperation about Winston. Well calling potential voters morons does not help. Another reason Adam would suggest is that not only does immigration not resonate with the electorate in the way that it used to – people are beginning to see the remarks by Winston and the likes of Peter Brownfor what they are – hate speech and bigotry dressed up as concern for those already here – by people who have long passed their personal use by dates.

In fact Adam wants to know why the Race Relations Conciliator does not investigate Peters and his party for the comments it makes. After all Joris de Bres is only too happy to investigate anyone else at the drop of a cliche.

Yet as Ralston noted:-

However, it does not stop Peters having a knee-jerk reaction any time anyone mentions foreigners in a positive way.

Last week the Department of Labour’s immigration specialist, Rob Hodgson, told a Wellington conference that migrants were four times more valuable to the economy than people who were born here. He said immigrants contributed more than $8.1 billion to the economy in 2006, and used only $4.1 billion in benefits and services. By contrast, folk born here contributed $24.6 billion but swallowed a massive $21.92 billion goodies from the state. That meant each migrant contributed $3547 to the country, while a native-born Kiwi added only $915.

Peters appeared to burst a blood vessel at this news, attacking Hodgson’s statements as “moronic”. Defying logic and mathematics, he clamed the conference had been “fed some ridiculous nonsense” and immigrants carried hidden costs linked to infrastructure, education, health and social services. He seems to have overlooked the fact that New Zealanders born here carry the same hidden costs in infrastructure, etc, and even if you factor these figures into Hodgson’s equation, immigrants are still worth four times the average Kiwi’s contribution to the economy.

Well Winston needed to try out the new word he had recently learned – moron in all it’s various forms. More clearly Winston’s comment ever so succinctly demonstrated the truth of Ralston’s next comment:-

Peters seems unable to comprehend the statistics that show migrants have a higher rate of employment, higher incomes, pay more tax and are less likely to go to prison or get a social services benefit than the average Kiwi.

Part of the reason for this may well be that Winston cannot face up to the reality that information is now at hand which demonstrates that much of what he has been saying for years is now demonstrated to be nonsense and palpably untrue. Further, with travel, larger numbers of migrants, many more New Zealanders are much more at home with immigrants in general and Asians in particular.

Ralston concludes:-

Stymied by the electorate’s refusal to join him in paranoia, Peters finds Labour has stolen his other trusty weapon – a strong stand against foreign investment. Labour’s insistence on blocking the sale of Auckland Airport shares to the Canadian Pension Plan and its uneconomic decision to buy back the railways whipped the ground from under his feet. He can no longer trot out his tired claim that New Zealand First is the only party opposed to “selling the family silver”.

Part of the problem here, Adam would suggest is that many pensioners with savings will have seen what this sort of stance and behaviour did to people’s savings. He thinks they will be less than impressed.

Indeed as an aside, the growth of Kiwisaver may well in future, along with the Cullen fund, impede politicians from taking such value destroying action. Populist nationalism may sound good, but far more people are able to work out the damage it does to the hip pocket now.

The final words in Ralston’s article are:

He will campaign hard and it will get vicious, but this election is set to be Peters’ swansong.

We can but hope, but whilst so many in the media seem to let him get away with his bullying and failure to answer questions, Adam is not as sanguine as Bill Ralston.

No one seems to be prepared to hold Winston Peters to account.

Why is he being allowed to get away with not repaying the $158,000 of public funds that his party mis-used at the 2005 election?

Why is he keeping secret what he has done with the money?

Where did the party get the $158,000 from?

Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald

NO, NO, NO and forever NO is what voters should be saying to this bullying popinjay


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  1. NZ First still owes $158,000 « Homepaddock

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