Jul 28, 2008

Condi's Inbox

We once more try and be helpful to our friends at the Embassy

Confidential and Highly Sensitive

From Wellington

To State Flash

Attention Secretary Rice

From DCM Keegan

Position Of New Zealand Foreign Minister Peters

Secretary Rice has requested daily updates on the political scandal growing around Winston Peters.

Peters' position is becoming increasingly untenable and as we write the Opposition Leader Key (who impressed the Secretary) is calling for more leadership from PM Clark.

The major papers in Wellington and Christchurch both had hostile editorials today calling for answers.

Radio and TV interviews by the PM today sent mixed messages. On TV she seemed to be suggesting that the end was near, but on radio she seemed more supportive.

There are a number of witnesses now emerging from the woodwork who seem to know enough to contradict Peters' denials and those around Wellington who know the law are all telling us that a breach of either the former or current law seems likely to be provable, thus increasing the risk for the Government.

There are two schools of thought around town. One suggests that PM Clark is using this as a means to secure Peters' support for the unpopular emissions trading scheme. The other suggests that Clark is prepared for Peters to dig an even bigger hole for himself for a bit longer. Once the Australian PM's visit is over and the scandal is at fever pitch she will seek to demonstrate strong leadership by firing Peters and calling an early election. The need for a firmer majority and the failure of her climate change legislation will be the pretexts. This would be a ballsy act but Helen Clark has political balls. Labour has clawed back a bit of support in recent polls so going to the electorate on the leadership issue might claw thing back enough to win in coalition with the Greens and Maori parties (under this scenario Peters' so called New Zealand First Party would become a thing of the past).

With the PM leaving for the lunatic King's coronation in Tonga on Thursday we are not expecting resolution of this matter for quite some time.

On another issue former PM Bolger is very sorry for the slip of the tongue and the inappropriate mention of Senator Obama in his speech on Saturday. This has unfortunately been picked up in the media.