Heather du Plessis-Allan: Winston Peters could be brought back as Labour's handbrake

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Jun 2021, 4:46PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Winston Peters could be brought back as Labour's handbrake

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Mon, 21 Jun 2021, 4:46PM

Does Winston Peters have a path back to Parliament? 

Too right he does. 

I reckon this all comes down to how much of a mess the National Party is in 2023. If they are still the shambles they are right now and have no hope whatsoever of getting enough votes to from a government, and the only possible scenario is a government of Labour or Labour plus the Greens, I reckon there will a strong temptation among grumpy centre- and right-leaning voters to put Winston back in as a handbrake.

He’s got a couple of things to get over.

The first is the SFO-laid charges against people connected to NZ First. He needs that to go right for his party 

And he’s got to deal with resentful voters. People are annoyed with him and blame him for putting us in this position by choosing labour in the first place 

Fair enough, but if you’re faced with the option of continuing to pushing him for that, or putting him back in to stop nonsense like the Auckland bike bridge and taxes they promised they wouldn’t do.

You might well decide that as angry as you are, you’re more worried what Labour might do with another three years unchecked.

And the fact is we have seen the difference he makes. Labour last term got none of this crazy stuff through because he stopped it: fair pay agreements, ute taxes, light rail to the airport.

But he’s gone, and Labour’s gone hell for leather with the madness.  

Newshub last night trotted out some numbers to prove Winston Peters couldn’t make it back. 70 percent of the country, according to a poll they did, didn’t want him back.

But 20 percent did. He only needs five percent: he only needs a quarter of those people and he’s back.

He’s got a good issue to campaign on with Māori separatism. That’s probably not going away this term because labour’s Māori caucus is massive and powerful and making demands, and they’ll be doing that right up to the next election to make sure they don’t lose seats to the Māori Party.

That looks like a gimme for him.

Obviously, it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen at an election in two years’ time. National might become credible and voters won’t want to waste votes on NZ First.

But if the political landscape mirrors what we’ve got now, I’d say Winston’s got a path back.