It only took a moment, an instinct to get the last word. But Winston Peter's closing remarks on Q+A raise questions about his conviction and comebackability

Television has its strengths and of course its limitations. One of its greatest assets is that it gives you 'moments'; a sudden revelation, a slip of the tongue, a facial expression or an impetuous outburst that remains in your mind long after the grist has been forgotten.

We had one of those on Q+A on Sunday, when Guyon Espiner interviewed Winston Peters. It was a telling two seconds that has had me re-thinking my gut feeling that New Zealand First will return to Parliament after this year's election.

I've been of the mind that Peters will squeak back in. Why? Mostly because there's a space in the political marketplace for his kind of politics worth at least five percent of the vote.

He will give voice to those suffering at the (invisible) hands of our stalled economy. He will be an effective government critic, especially on asset sales and foreign investment. His memory and vocabulary are powerful weapons.

And, in contrast, he will benefit from that fact that most New Zealanders will have forgotten about the murk of scandal that hung around him just three years ago.

Even with the Owen Glenn funding allegations fresh in people's minds and an ascendant John Key putting the boot, in he was able to win 4.6 percent of the vote in 2008. So you'd think that three years of memory loss and economic woe would be enough for him to salvage another half percent.

This year, however, has not been kind to him. The earthquakes in particular have changed the mood of the country in ways we still don't entirely comprehend. There's a wariness abroad in the land; a sense that things have changed.

Which makes me wonder whether Peters is now a man out of time; a face that no longer fits.

This is the start of my post at tvnz.co.nz. To continue reading, click here. But feel free to add comments and debate below.

Comments (5)

by Graeme Edgeler on June 23, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

Even with the Owen Glenn funding allegations fresh in people's minds and an ascendant John Key putting the boot, in he was able to win 4.6 percent of the vote in 2008.

4.07%.

by Tim Watkin on June 23, 2011
Tim Watkin

Damn you Edgler, I would have sworn my memory was good on that one. Should've checked. He slipped late in the night, didn't he? He was so close to 5% for so many hours on election night... then obviously faded.

At 4.07 he'd need about 21,000 more votes this time round.

by Graeme Edgeler on June 23, 2011
Graeme Edgeler

Damn you Edgler, I would have sworn my memory was good on that one.

I gone and checked so many times, I think I know them off by heart. It's a theme that comes up a lot on the Internet: New Zealand First misses out on any seats despite getting (almost) twice the votes of ACT, etc. The result was:

ACT: 85,496

NZF: 95,356

At 4.07 he'd need about 21,000 more votes this time round.

That would depend on the turnout. At the last change of government in 1999 there was a turnout of 84.77%, at the election after that it was down to 76.98%: a drop so great that the total number of votes actually dropped (i.e. despite population growth). It might not be quite that drastic, but I very much imagine turnout will be down in November.

by Richard Aston on June 23, 2011
Richard Aston

I don'ts know but it has never ceased to amaze me how he can drum up that 5% - he is so blatant , doesn't even bother with spin doctoring, just rolls out whatever scary monster he thinks will get the fear vote.

I dunno , not sure he's got the nanna vote this time round.

 

by on June 26, 2011
Anonymous

I thought that was a media beat up on Q&A.  I think Paul Holmes commentary was about as good as his flying.  Guyson is suppose to let Winston answer his questions without interrupting him.  He sounded like John Campbell, more interested in putting his views before the viewers can come to their own decision.    Winston will make it over the 5 percent because people like myself are very dissatisfied with National.   Key lied to get in and that infuriates me because I voted for him.  Even when the media tried to beat Winston up in 2008, he made 4.07 percent.  But this time there are the horizon polls which probe the undecided and counter Tv1 and 3 polls which says that a vote for the minor party is NOT a wasted vote.

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