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Waiting for Winston

Thursday 12th October 2017

Why is Winston Peters taking so long, wonders Māni Dunlop. 

 

Winston Peters' NZ First has the power to decide the next government.
Winston Peters' NZ First has the power to decide the next government.

Photo: RNZ/Brad White

A quick glance at all our major news outlets’ websites shows that in the last week there has been extensive reporting of the coalition meetings’ agenda “…they’re meeting at 9.30am then another meeting at 12.30pm and then some more meetings in the afternoon.” 

My main questions in reading a lot of these have been when do they eat lunch? Do they eat together, or in between hui? Do they eat WHILE discussing potentially teaming up? When is the NZ First board really going to meet to make the decision? Will they fly to Auckland or Wellington OR Kerikeri?! Why is Thursday night going to be too late to get the board together, surely everyone can sacrifice an early night to make the decision about our country’s future? Or why is Skype or teleconferencing not fit to facilitate the ‘serious discussion’ as Winston Peters has said? 

These questions may be trivial, but it’s really what I have had to resort to during this waiting game.  
 
I am a self-confessed politics geek. The first thing I did when I woke up, while politicians were on the campaign trail, was check my usual news websites and chuck on Morning Report, while still emerging from bed.

But since election night, with it all weighing on Winston, I can’t say I do the same. I see his face or read his name and I instantly roll my eyes and move on to the actual news of the day, a feeling I know I share with some of my peers, who have the same sentiment and convey a feeling of just ‘being over it’. No offence Winitana – it’s not that your timeless-been-in-politics-since-1978 face is hard to look at, it’s just I am seeing too much of it.
 
I just did a quick google of Winston’s name and I was met with a barrage of opinion pieces published since election night. So many it’s overwhelming. One pundit says, and I am paraphrasing here, he’s def going with the Nats based on their past hook ups (as an aside some could argue that didn’t work out for him in 1996, when New Zealand waited six weeks for NZ First’s decision). The next pundit says NO way is Winston going to go with the Greens! Then there’s the - oh, na, yea, he could go with Labour and Greens for sure. 

In my own informal survey on Winston’s latest Facebook post, the comment section of which, as of writing, was at more than 1200 comments, a vast majority were rooting for a Labour coalition. 

We are really grappling here whanau! Aue.


 As a young wahine Māori master’s student who is expecting her first child in early 2018, I will give no prizes for guessing which way I lean politically (clue: not NZ First). But the party clearly represents a section of our society that trusts Winston and his policies enough to vote for him to provide a better Aotearoa. That is at the forefront of my mind, who will our mokopuna benefit from most? Will they even benefit at all? How crucial is this coalition and WHY IS IT TAKING SO LONG. 

And give me a decent breaking news banner please! Not pointing fingers but I read a banner yesterday that said “huge progress was being made” ...Hmmmm. Isn’t that what meetings are for? 
 
The voter turnout was only a smidgen up from the last election. But it did feel in the public discourse that there was much more engagement than in previous years - especially from the younger generation, with the political landscape better reflecting us. But I can’t help feeling, with NZ First once again deciding our future, that we are potentially facing the status quo of a lot of older male faces at the tepu making decisions for us, and not the fresh new change we were promised by Labour and Green.
 
Although my tone may come across as facetious, it’s a case of pure election exhaustion and over saturation – I don’t think that this is solely NZ First’s doing, the media definitely has played a part in this.
 
I am well aware that this is not an easy decision to make, but Winston has been in the game a long time - a really long time. So let’s hope that despite being told that he isn’t meeting his self-imposed deadline to announce the decision today, but will wait until after it’s been presented to the board (which may take a while) he’ll speed things up. 

So please Winston, if you’re reading this, please mate: hurry! Put the hard word on that board – I am happy to have some of my hard earned tax dollars spent on crazy expensive Air NZ flights, I just want to know our fate. 



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Māni (Ngāpuhi) is a journalist and Postgraduate Fellow at Unitec's Department of Communications.
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