The Soap Box: Despite the numbers, Peters returns as a hero

Author
Barry Soper,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 27 September 2017, 6:12AM
Photo / Mark Mitchell
Photo / Mark Mitchell

Ninety three percent of the country may not have voted for him but Winston Peters returns to parliament for the first time today as a conquering hero.

The left and the right are reverentially bowing to the man who holds their future in the palm of his hand.

Bill English was recounting the fact that he'd known Peters, the man he rather unwisely called a maverick, for twenty seven years, true but not long after they met he was instrumental in having him removed from the National Party, prompting him to go out and form his own party.

And Jacinda Ardern was talking respect and paying due deference to his great political knowledge.

Of course in a month's time one of them will have a very different view of the feisty fiend from Whananaki. But at the moment if Peters was butter, he wouldn't be melting in their mouths.

While they both received the accolades from their colleagues, standing ovations as they entered their meeting rooms, they were seen as winners. Whether that's the case literally only time will tell, and that time will be determined solely by Peters, with him not picking up the phone from either of them since the election and not likely to for some days yet.

He did pick up the phone though from yours truly to have a go at Fonterra boss Theo Spierings' eye watering $8.3 million salary over the past year, which amounts to just on $160,000 a week. Dairy farmers were much better off before Spierings took over the trading giant, Peters argues, and since then China's taken over the infant formula business and farmers have taken a $300 million bath from the company's investment arm in China.

So our current most powerful politician's suggesting a raft of laws to reign in what he calls the fat cat payouts, banning golden hello's, bonuses being paid to lure executives, and limiting golden parachutes to those bosses quitting with bulging pockets. And he wants to see a change to the Companies Act, giving shareholders a say for pay, when it comes to directors fees and chief executive packages.

Sounds a bit Obama-esque who in the early days of his presidency flogged the fat cats. But then he had a more powerful reason than we've got, enormous payout's to departing Wall Street bosses whose companies were on life support before the government stepped in. Obama cut the compo to half a million at most. In reality it was a hit like closing the stable door after the prize stallion had bolted.

But it's years since the government here has subsidised farmers in this country and if they've got a problem with Fonterra fat cats, surely let them fight their own battles.

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