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John MacDonald: Winston and the X-Files skulduggery

Author
John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Oct 2023, 12:50PM
NZ First leader Winston Peters has accused Dame Jacinda Ardern of a lack of transparency over the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks.
NZ First leader Winston Peters has accused Dame Jacinda Ardern of a lack of transparency over the 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks.

John MacDonald: Winston and the X-Files skulduggery

Author
John MacDonald,
Publish Date
Fri, 27 Oct 2023, 12:50PM

To say that Winston Peters is the Donald Trump of New Zealand politics would probably be going too far. But after his nonsense on the X social media platform about Dame Jacinda Ardern and the Christchurch mosque attacks, you’ve got to say he’s got a touch of the old Donald about him.

And it’s being suggested today that, after all his nonsense this week, he has shown once-and-for-all that he’s not fit to be in government again.

Political commentator Matthew Hooton is saying this in the NZ Herald and he reckons the NZ First caucus should read the tea leaves and ditch Peters as leader. And, if that doesn’t happen, Christopher Luxon should just pull the plug on any idea of going into coalition with NZ First.

Now the first option is never going to happen, is it? There will never, ever be any sort of coup within New Zealand First. Because they know the only reason they’re MPs in the first place is because of Winston Peters. So they’re never going to bite the hand that feeds them and get rid of him.

So that leaves Christopher Luxon who, according to one headline I’ve seen, was having dinner at Winston’s house on Wednesday night when he was busy talking nonsense on social media.

Maybe when Winston kept getting up-and-down from the table, Luxon thought he was just ducking-off to the kitchen to stir the sauce. But he’ll know now, won’t he, that Winston was actually stirring the pot on social media.

So what he did, was go online and say that it was outrageous that it wasn’t until the start of the coroner’s inquiry into the March 15 mosque attacks this week that we found out that the Prime Minister’s office had been alerted of the attacks just before they happened.

This was the email the terrorist sent to the PM’s office and others, including media.

Here’s what Winston Peters said in his tweet: “We waited until today to find out, for the first time, that the Prime Minister's Office received information about the March 15 terrorist attack before the massacre took place.

“Jacinda Ardern should be called to the hearing and asked to explain this appalling lack of transparency to the New Zealand public - let alone to the Deputy Prime Minister and government coalition partner.

“This was a crisis event. To keep this basic information hidden is not only unacceptable it is now clearly indicative of how that office worked. The next question is, who else inside Cabinet knew and said nothing?"

Which is just balmy. Because Jacinda Ardern revealed the day after the attack that her office had received the email from the terrorist. But it’s not just balmy, it’s sinister - because it implies some sort of government cover-up, doesn’t it?

Then later on Wednesday night, he went online again and acknowledged the email had been discussed at a media conference the day after the attacks. But he doubled down on his criticism of Jacinda Ardern saying, that when he had a phone conversation with her immediately after the attacks, she didn’t tell him about the email.

What’s more, he still hasn’t deleted the original nonsense he posted about “shock, horror, this is the first time we’ve heard about this. This is a government cover-up. Blah, blah, blah.”

Just absolute nonsense. And I agree with Matthew Hooton. Winston Peters has well-and-truly shown that he is past his use-by date and shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Cabinet table.

As he says in the Herald today, NZ First’s Shane Jones, Jenny Marcroft and the rest of them now need to decide if they want to be able to look themselves in the mirror. Or whether they’re going to turn a blind eye to their leader trying to score political points out of the mosque tragedies. Which, in my mind, is unforgiveable.

Matthew Hooton is also saying today that Christopher Luxon and National now have some soul-searching to do, as well. He says if Winston Peters’ online activities on Wednesday night aren’t enough for him to be persona non-grata for National, then what would be?

And I agree. In my mind, Winston Peters has blown it. And National should get real, show some fortitude, and stand up and say it wants nothing more to do with Winston Peters.

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