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Barry Soper: Revenge fuelling Peters' legal scrap with National

Barry Soper,
Publish Date
Thursday, 22 August 2019, 9:23AM


Politics is a strange old business and on many occasions it's difficult, if not impossible, to read.

It's as though some of the participants in it live in an indestructible, soundproof bubble. They're oblivious to reaction to what they're saying and how it could be perceived by the rest of us.

There are a couple of examples this week.

The first is the Commerce Commission report into whether we're being fleeced, as Jacinda Ardern would have us believe, at the petrol pump. We more than likely are, but then no more than we're being fleeced every time we use a credit card.

For some reason they feel that to use it, for travel as an example, they want to add two per cent on the cost to us for its use. This is the card that you pay an annual fee for and then pay exorbitant interest rates if you extend the credit beyond a month.

So like the fuel industry, banks are getting away with blue murder and so are monopolistic supermarkets and so are building suppliers and the list goes on and on. Unfortunately we live on islands at the bottom of the Pacific, we're a small population where monopolies rule and we have little choice but to pay the price.

But it's reading the politics that surrounds all this that presents a problem.

Ardern tells us climate change is the nuclear-free moment of her generation and monotonously bangs on about zero carbon emissions in the one breath while with the next tells us we're paying too much for our petrol and assures us she'll be doing her best to bring the price down.

And then next year we're having a referendum on whether we should be able to legally smoke dope and yet the Beehive's adamant it wants to stamp out having a legal cigarette by 2050!

Go figure.

And while you're thinking about that, spare a thought for the case Winston Peters is taking against senior Nats alleging they leaked the details of the overpayment of his pension at the height of his election campaign.

Peters is adamant he knew nothing about the seven years he was getting more than he was entitled to and immediately paid the money back.

The only two government ministers who were told about it were Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley, but just to cover his bases he's having a go at Bill English and the then campaign manager Steven Joyce as well.

Many are saying let it go Winston, it was two years ago.

But it was dirty politics, played at a time when English was telling voters to cut out the middle man, who just happened to be Peters. Whoever leaked it was out to destroy him and his credibility so like anyone of us, he has a right to defend himself and find out who was responsible - a task that'll begin in the High Court at Auckland in early November, and one that'll be easier said than done.

In the meantime the Nats are trying to settle out of court which Peters is happy enough to do providing they deliver Bennett's scalp, removing her from Parliament.

It's the antipathy Peters has for Bennett that makes reading National's thinking of appointing her as campaign manager for the next election about as easy to decipher as hieroglyphics.

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