Aug 23, 2008

John Arnstrong - Peters Knows That He Is In Trouble

Very interesting article by John Armstrong today in the NZ Herald. We just quote from its ending. We think the polls are a bit clearer but generally agree with all of this:

The political credit NZ First had banked from delivering on its promises and keeping the minority Government stable has been run down rapidly in the weeks since it was revealed Glenn had made the donation Peters had so vociferously denied.
That Peters knows his party is in trouble is evidenced by two things. There is talk of putting Ron Mark up as NZ First's candidate in the Wellington seat of Rimutaka to try to win a threshold-nullifying constituency seat now that Peters has clearly done his chips in Tauranga.
Meanwhile, Peters has sought to reinforce his hold on the one voter segment that has been consistently loyal to NZ First. He has made upwards of 15 speeches to Grey Power branches in recent weeks. Among other things, he is promising a further increase in national super and subsidies for winter power bills.
He has also picked up on the string of finance house crashes which has seen many elderly lose their savings. He cannot get their money back, but he is promising a tougher regulatory regime and - in his latest move - a guarantee on deposits up to $100,000 lodged with the two New Zealand-owned banks, Kiwibank and TSB.
Peters is also warning that if NZ First is not returned to Parliament, then it is open for the next government to cut super. He doesn't mention National by name - that would be interpreted as him expecting a change of government. But he means National.
He has also sought to turn his current woes to advantage - claiming the media and Act leader Rodney Hide, who was partly responsible for getting Peters before the privileges committee, are the front for a conspiracy by the wealthy elite to destroy NZ First.
Will all this be enough to save NZ First? Not if the Serious Fraud Office launches a full investigation into the party's handling of donations.