On the campaign trail in Dunedin North with Victor Billot

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Posts Tagged ‘Winston Peters

Close encounters of the Winston Kind

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Imagine my surprise today as I strolled into Otago University for a lunchtime interview with Critic magazine. A crowd was gathered around and I pushed through the spectators towards a strangely familiar voice.

There he was in pinstriped resplendence, the Minister for Racing, Deputy Dubious Donation Demon and allround remnant of a past glorious age of New Zealand politics where dinosaurs trod the earth . . .

Winston Peters.

Peters, like Lange, Muldoon, and Napoleon, is a short man. Let’s leave aside the psychological implications of this, and instead admire his bouffant, remarkable hairstyle which seems to have gone grey very quickly.

The assembled students stared blankly at him as he rambled on, obviously in a relaxed mood, sporting a cheeky grin and trailed by a throng of media supplicants hoping for some history making moment.

Question time caused some problems as the intellectual elite of tomorrow looked on like a herd of sleepy ruminants and the silence became a little embarrassing. Peters is a man used to fending off rabid journalists and fraud office operatives, and was not prepared for the resounding lack of interest from the young scholars.

So, feeling sorry for him, I asked a question. The Student President looked depressed as I strode forward and introduced myself. I gave Winston a bit of a ginger up and it was heartwarming to see the Old Warrior light up as I gave him someone to focus on in a good old fashioned slanging match. He patronized me and I told him he was on the way out, then I asked my question, and he performed a magic Houdini trick of telling everyone all the good things New Zealand First had done.

None of this was anything to do with my question, and indicates perhaps his continuing fascination for the Fourth Estate, who have devoted an entire election campaign to his pantomime act while refusing to engage in any serious debate on trifling issues like $10 billion student debt, free trade with China and the global recession.

Afterwards I went off into the Student Cafe to do my Critic interview, where I watched a streaker run past Winston and the crowd – a suitably surreal moment that I would entitle the Naked and the Politically Dead in homage to Norman Mailer – if it wasn’t for the fact that Winston will invent some transparently obvious ruse in the week before the election.

For example, blaming leaky house syndrome on Martian immigrant lizards from Asia – and comfortably romping home with the last minute “dense” voters, who will fasten on his words as the answer to all of life’s problems. That’s our Winston.

Written by Victor

September 19, 2008 at 5:09 am