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RICHARD PREBBLE: More comebacks than Rocky

Winston Peters, aged 77, would be 80 in the next parliament. There is a role for eighty year olds but, as President Biden demonstrates, it is not in politics.

One of the wisest directors I ever served with was ninety. He had observed the destruction shit-stirrers cause. His advice: “Get the shit-stirrers off the bus”.

Mr. Peters wants to comeback because “I made up my mind that I was never … going to become the victim of what was virtually a conspiracy to take someone out of politics. It’s that simple”.

Mr. Peters has no one to blame for his legal problems but himself. It is that simple.

Over 715,000 superannuates manage to claim their correct super. Young mothers who forget they are in a de facto relationship and claim the DPB get prosecuted.

Mr. Peters has yet to explain why New Zealand First hid from the voters and party members the fact that the party was secretly bankrolled by wealthy businessmen from the racing and fishing industries.

In none of his many court cases have the courts found any evidence of a conspiracy by officials to take Mr. Peters out of politics.

Then there is Peters’ claim that “No one gets to lie to me twice.”

Mr. Peters says Labour lied to him over Three Waters and the He Puapua report.

As a cabinet minister Mr. Peters approved the launch of the Three Waters reforms. All the cabinet papers have been released. Where is the lie?

The evolution of Three Waters into co-government occurred in this present term.

Critics, like this column, said from the start that the centralization was a mistake. Peters may now wish he had not agreed to the launch of Three Waters but he did.

Then Peters says he was not told about the commissioning of He Puapua. He Puapua is the recommendations of a working party of how New Zealand could meet its commitments under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Willie Jackson denies anyone lied to Peters. He says it was just a working group and not government policy.

Winston Peters was Deputy Prime Minister. When Jacinda was having her baby, Peters was Prime Minister. He could have got any document he wanted.

As Foreign Minister he knew that New Zealand would be making a response to the declaration. It appears he made no enquiries.

Mr. Peters was either negligent or he did not want to know.

Peters says he is targeting Labour’s core vote with the audacious claim that it was New Zealand First who increased the minimum wage. He has never lacked chutzpah.

What is significant is what is not on his risible list of claimed achievements. Mr. Peters’ key role in creating today’s inflation.

New Zealand First insisted the Reserve Bank’s remit be changed from being focused solely on inflation. It was that change that encouraged the bank to print billions of inflationary dollars.

The bank says government spending is a cause of inflation. New Zealand First’s Provincial Growth Fund that created very few jobs is a prime example of reckless government spending.

If anyone was misled it was the voters. Mr. Peters said he would be a handbrake on the Ardern government. He was asleep at the wheel with his foot on the accelerator.

Mr. Peters’ statement last week in response to the court case of the baby who needs a blood transfusion is irresponsible even by his standards. Mr. Peters said:

“…. there are still many questions about the covid vaccine, and the world was never told enough. Every qualified medical practitioner knows now that New Zealand was never told the entire truth…."

Mr. Peters was Deputy Prime Minister when the strategy of locking down the country until vaccinations were available was adopted. The procedures to buy the covid vaccines were started when he was a minister. He has never publicly raised any concerns.

When he made his infamous visit to the anti-vax protest at parliament he was keen to say he was not himself protesting.

I will eat my hat if Mr. Peters did not use his age to be at the front of the queue for vaccination.

Now he is trying to be the anti-vaxxers champion.

It matters. Last month the World Health Organisation issued this warning.

“Falling vaccination rates and reduced surveillance during the covid-19 pandemic have created an “imminent threat” of measles spreading in every region of the world.”

New Zealand had wiped out measles. The Ministry of Health warns falling vaccination rates means we are at risk of an outbreak of this deadly decease.

Parents will see Mr. Peters’ statement. Some may refuse to vaccinate their children.

There are some ponds politicians should never fish.

In the words of a wise ninety-year-old “do not let the shit-stirrer back on the bus”.

The Honourable Richard Prebble CBE is a former member of the New Zealand Parliament. Initially a member of the Labour Party, he joined the newly formed ACT New Zealand party under Roger Douglas in 1996, becoming its leader from 1996 to 2004.

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