Mike's Minute: Winston again pulls the wool over naive Labour's eyes

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 7 August 2019, 10:00AM


I will tell you this for nothing: there is more where this came from.

Winston Peters is 100 per cent right, and I suspect the arch-villain as well. New Zealand First wants a referendum on abortion law reform, who can possibly be surprised? They have forced a vote on dope, they have forced a vote on euthanasia. They have a history of going to the public, in theory anyway, when it comes to major issues.

It's a clever mechanism. It makes them look democratic - and occasionally it allows them to argue something didn't happen because the people didn't want it.

But sadly this debacle falls into two laps, and is yet more bad news for the Government.

Tracey Martin has been hung out to dry as the New Zealand First rep. Either that or she is Machiavellian and hiding something.

It seems inconceivable the party sent her out and didn't tell her about a desire for an abortion reform referendum. It also seems inconceivable she didn't ask whether that would be part of the mix. If it's the latter she is incompetent in almost Phil Twyford proportions.

But for Justice Minister Andrew Little it is worse. This is his project. He was only dealing with Martin to get her party across the line in terms of numbers.

For him to enter talks and at no point front Peters to ask 'Hey, by the way, given your penchant for votes, are we looking at one here?' defies belief - and as it turns out inexcusable. To say it wasn't raised is not an excuse.

If you're in charge of the numbers you cover your bases. And not covering one of the most obvious bases, in this case a referendum from a party fascinated by them, defies belief.

Little's worse than Martin. In some respects worse than Twyford. The bleeding obvious was staring him in the face, he didn't see it. He's asleep at the wheel.

So what to do? The upside is that if the proposed abortion reform is put to a referendum it will sail through. That's the odd thing about euthanasia and abortion: the public is well ahead of the politicians.

But, and here's the bigger political story, yet again it makes the Government - and particularly Labour - look inept. It makes them look like one hand doesn't know what the other is doing.

Now, the villain part of Peters is the fact he manufactured this. Good grace and manners would have involved him giving everyone a heads-up. He didn't do it.

Why not? Because it didn't suit his agenda, which is to separate himself out from Labour.

A year till the next election, he has to assert authority, he has to show he's in charge, had power, influence, and can make stuff work and happen. The fact it makes Labour look Mickey Mouse is neither here nor there. He's below the threshold, no party has ever survived in government as a small player and got voted back, history is at play.

That's why I say, buckle up, there is more much more where this came from.

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