Thursday, 28 August 2008

Baubles not ruled out

This morning I have a very rare two cheers for John Key.

One cheer for finally saying something, anything, that distinguishes his party from the other party.

Another cheer for what it was he said: ruling out Winston Peters from being a minister in a Key Government.

So why not three cheers? Because on TVNZ's 'Close Up' last night [click 'Donation Questioning'], he confirmed under questioning -- albeit rather sheepishly -- that this didn't mean he would rule out a coalition deal with Peters. Did you get that? He wouldn't rule out a coalition deal with Peters.

So despite what you've taken Key to say, just remember that if Winston's party is still there next year, Key hasn't ruled out making a deal with him. What sort of deal, I hear you ask? Who knows, but it would have to be a deal that a lazy end-of-career gland-handler would appreciate. How would you feel about a deal that saw Winston with a different bauble -- say, a plum High Commissioner's role?

UPDATE 1: Lindsay Mitchell is equally unimpressed:

Johnny come-very-lately steals the show by almost, just about, very nearly, ruling Peters out of participating in a National cabinet. (Note that is not government and not necessarily the Peters' Party). It's a decision about as bold and decisive as another he made yesterday earning him the headline, Key slams bill - but has backed it for now.

UPDATE 2Paul Walker sees a "time inconsistency" problem here:

Key can say what he likes now but if after the election Peters is the difference between National being able to form a government and not being able to do so then Peters will be in the cabinet. Key can not credibly commit to never giving Peters a place in cabinet, and you can bet Peters knows it.

UPDATE 3: Meanwhile, David Farrar has a question people should be asking the Greens:

    The Greens position themselves as a party of integrity.
    So my question for the Greens, is this:

Will you rule out supporting on confidence and supply a Government which has Winston Peters as a Minister, after the election?

UPDATE 4: And The Standard (yes people, The Standard,), argues that Key's not courageous, he's poll-driven.  With Winston First's slump in the polls, from 4.1% to 2.1%, "it is now in National’s interest to see NZF not return to Parliament and create a large wasted vote; the larger the wasted vote, the less close to 50% National needs to poll to govern. Hence, Key’s change of stance on Peters..."  Makes sense, doesn't it.

UPDATE 5:  By the way, Peters's "I wasn't in Karaka in 2006" story is blown out of the water here, and here, with pictures.


  1. Two cheers for Key? Not from me. I take a different tack.

    If John Key's future dismissal of working with Peters - provided Peters is not guilty - is "principled" as has been suggested, then God help us all.

    A principled approach would be to dismiss working with Peters regardless. Peters' history is one of slippery and more slippery.

    If I may draw a parallel, it's like the UN officially calling Robert Mugabe a murderous despot - while stopping short of going in and liberating those poor people from him.


  2. Correction: "providing Peter is guilty".

    Doing two things at once, here - and neither particularly well! :)

  3. drunken watchman28 Aug 2008, 10:32:00

    a gland-hander? .. ouch

  4. "Gland-hander." That's pretty serious imagery, but I guess I'd better fix it.

    Yes, Sus, Key's been dragged kicking and screaming to do something whose necessity was obvious to everyone many moons ago, but he's done it. Well, half of it.

    Will he go back on it? Possibly. But at least he's said it.

  5. What is this I heard, fleetingly, thus not fully, on the ratio this morning, that Clark knew about the payment, and the issues surrounding it, or was at least questioning Peters on it months ago?

    And they graft, and they graft, and they graft ...

  6. Hell, 'on the radio' this morning ...


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