It’s clear NZ First will go into the next election with Winston Peters at the helm. He’s been here before, notably after 2008 when for the first time since he formed his Party nearly three decades back, it was out of Parliament. He’s the Lazarus of New Zealand politics, and will rise again, specially in the current flux.
While his motives were revenge in not opting for National in 2017, I was pleased as I don’t like four term governments and second, another defeat would probably have seen the demise of Labour and with it our broadly satisfactory two (principal) parties system.
This time Winston has rich pickings to exploit. He’s well aware that this government is hopeless in a crisis and of the growing disenchantment and will attack them in a way National and to a lesser extent ACT, are not game to do.
Specifically, he will hone in on undemocratic maori favouritism which has understandably brought in its wake, a race-based division and much anger. But most of all he will target the terrible economic impact of the government’s inept hiding under the bed response to Covid. As I’ve written before; they will not only be swept out of office in the next election but decimated, in line with the old political truism that Oppositions don’t win elections; governments lose them. The sole exception to that over the past century was Muldoon in 1975.
So I’m picking a coalition government in 2023 comprising National with circa 38% and ACT and NZ First with another 22% or thereabouts, split between them.
The irony about this situation is that Winston is probably the most disliked politician of the last 20 years. But it doesn’t matter, if 10% or so love him, that’s enough to be a highly effective player, as we saw in 2017.