After a completely bonkers week, let us for a moment consider the strange and complicated beast that is New Zealand First.
The little party that everybody loves to hate. The tail that wags the dog. The King and Queen makers. Conservative in nature, they hark from the days when conservatives had socialist leanings so the neo-liberal capitalists of the National Party view them as dinosaurs. New Zealand First views the Nats as dodgy accountants stealing from the poor to feed the rich.
New Zealand First also hates immigration which the John Key rock star economy was built on. We’re all in this together says New Zealand First. One New Zealand made up of equals who have been here awhile and not Johnny-Come-Latelys.
And to cap it off of course their charismatic leader used to be a Nat until thrown into the wilderness so there’s always utu underneath.
But neither is New Zealand First a friend of the left. Especially those greenies. Like parents in the 60s who suddenly saw their children sprouting long hair and beards and indulging in free love, New Zealand First hates the greens. And their cousins Labour, who are made up of academics and chardonnay swilling fops who have no real understanding of the working man and woman.
With so many enemies you’d think they’d play nice. But not this mob. Not this week
This week Winston Peters lawyer told the court in Winston’s superannuation defamation case that he accepts that Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley didn’t have any part in leaking his details. What was that about? Having declared war on the Nats he abruptly surrenders and blames a whole government department. The only thing he’s done is infuriate the biggest the Nats while at the same time exonerating them from dirty politics. What’s he playing at?
Then his mate Shane Jones goes full troppo. Launching into Indians who have been arranging marriages since the beginning of time and telling them to go home. There’s quarter of a million Indians here. That’s a lot of people to hack off.
Then he wrote a very sensible piece about the state of forestry in New Zealand. That was confusing. Stick to brand Shane and your brand is crazy with a big vocabulary and 3 billion to spend like water.
But within hours he was back to type launching into 500 Farmers calling them red-necks, singing Tutira Mai Ngaiwi while wearing a cowboy hat.
In the space of a few days New Zealand First alienated Farmers, Indians, the Ministry of Social Development and the National Party campaign manager Paula Bennett who in the end will be a major player in coalition talks.
I look at the madness of this week and try to see if there’s some grand plan. The only thing that I can come up with is that New Zealand First is against everybody in politics. Which is not so far away from a certain person in America.
If their intention is to show they’re not beholden to anybody they’ve certainly shown that. But they also seem borderline bat crazy. I don’t know if this is genius or nuts. What I do know is that it’s entertaining.