Winston Peters has 7 per cent the vote, but 100 per cent of the power. With just six days between the final count and a promised decision on who he will make PM, National and Labour have one chance to put their best offers on the table, writes Audrey Young.
Winston Peters stood at the podium in the Beehive Theatrette on Wednesday, in exactly the same place as he did 21 years ago, like the king of the castle.
This time there could be no excuse for voters’ remorse.
The 162,988 people who voted for him a week ago knew there was every chance his 7.5 per cent New Zealand First Party would be the kingmaker for National or Labour.
In 1996, the press conference Peters held was at 7pm to coincide with the Holmestelevision show. The caucus decision was about to be announced after a harrowing eight weeks of negotiations.
This week the 3pm press conference was held ostensibly to answer some questions before embarking on a 19-day process to choose either the biggest team – led by National’s Bill English, or the newest team – led by Labour’s Jacinda Ardern.
In fact few answers were given. He had scheduled an interview with Sky’s Andrew Bolt later that day and needed a local event first to avoid drawing scorn for talking to Australia before New Zealand about the weighty issue of the next Government.
The belligerence on display by Peters has not been unhelpful in cowing the contenders or, as they would have it, giving Peters time.
There has barely been a peep from them since, other than Paula Bennett blundering into the silence by describing Peters’ overpayment of superannuation “great gossip”.
We know what she means. Peters won’t. In any normal political circumstance, Peters would have been excoriated for his unwillingness to give the public the most basic information, such as whether talks with other parties might begin before the final results are announced in a week.
Source: NZ Herald – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11928077