Winston Peters Survival Guide

He has the influence, he is the kingmaker.


He’s been in more governments than any other MP yet is still somehow heralded as being anti-establishment and a political outsider.

It’s 2017 folks and for those unfamiliar with NZ politics (why are you even reading this?) that means it’s election year! In this cycle’s almighty clash we are witnessing National’s unholy (but still a little too holy) Bill English against Labour’s supremely popular Andrew Little.

All things considered however, this election is only made competitive by each party’s necessity to gain enough seats to govern. If the election were purely measure of who is the most popular National would have it in a bag to due to their consistent successes in recent polls.


I’m loving this photo collage generator I found

What this election is all about

Despite National’s significant lead over Labour,  they are still lacking the essential number of seats (a majority) required to form government. Without a working majority, a government will barely be able to function (don’t even think about the minority government path, just don’t). Due to this necessity, each party seeking to win this year’s election is required to work with other political parties. This cooperation with other parties is what we refer to as

*forming a coalition government*

And that’s where this guy comes enters the picture
Winston_Peters_portrait (1)
Winston “not racist” Peters

Why do we hear so much about NZ First?

First of all, we don’t. We really only hear about Winston Peters, he just happens to have a political party too (apparently).

There’s a very good reason why we are hearing so much about Winston Peters from NZ media outlets during this year’s election coverage.  Whilst many will run around screaming that it’s because he speaks to true New Zealanders and that he’s not afraid to stand up against toxic PC culture etc it really is a lot more functional than that. Sure, Winston has increased in popularity within this year’s election cycle however it’s hardly a game changer (one of more recent polls hailed as a “win” for Peters showed an increase of merely 3%). Peters’ real media traction within the last few days has stemmed from his smashing comparative success within the preferred Prime Minister polls. The latest 1News-Colmar Brunton Poll demonstrates that Winston Peters sits as the second most popular choice for Prime Minister following the incumbent Bill English. What’s important to point out however is the eerie correlation between Winston’s performance as preferred PM (11%) and the popularity of NZ First as a party (also 11%).

It’s almost as if people who support NZ First also support the idea of him being Prime Minister. Shocking.

I wonder where they got the idea from?

All this talk of Winston Peters becoming New Zealand’s next Prime Minister (or co-prime Minister at least) is relatively foolish. Winston’s performance within the preferred Prime Minister polls demonstrates that he, at best,  is one of New Zealand’s most popular individual politicians. Due to the top-down “Winston First” nature of NZ First as a political party, this is hardly surprising.


I genuinely looked so hard for a picture of NZ First as a caucus to use here but I could not find one (that probably speaks miles about the state of their party).

This is still Winston’s election

Despite the significant over-amplification of Winston Peters’ projected performance this is still his election to win. This is due to the seat majority discussed above. Many polls and projections suggest this as the likely outcome of the 2017 election:

A Coalition between National, Maori, ACT and United Future (lmao) will fall short of the required seats to form government.
A Labour/Green Coalition will also fall short of the required seats to form government.

This allows Winston Peters to negotiate with either party to allow either to form government. He has the influence, he is the kingmaker.


Except replace the “of the north” bit with “maker” (I’m not very good with photoshop)

How to stop Cyclone Winston

I’m just assuming that anybody reading at this point doesn’t support NZ First.

On a logical level, the best way to ensure NZ First doesn’t enter government is to vote for a party that isn’t NZ First. However, if you really care about casting your vote to stop Winston Peters becoming deputy PM or something I urge you to vote tactically.

There are three parties you should party vote for if you want NZ First to stay out of government: National, ACT, or Maori. Sorry NZ left, this is not your day.

The reason for this comes, once again, down to polls.  The realistic projections allowing the Nats to fall short of a majority sits at around 2-3 seats. As a result it’s not unrealistic to feasibly expect that a higher number of votes within these parties could be enough to push these seats over. Granted voting for ACT or Maori still requires either party to win a respective electorate seat but there’s little evidence to suggest that Epsom and Waiariki are going anywhere. Voting for either smaller party also grants to opportunity to have more influence over the policy swing of a future National government. For example if ACT holds the balance of power you can expect the government to be more pro-market however if Maori hold power you can expect it to be more driven by Maori affairs and social issues.

In stark contrast to the Nats, the Labour/Green coalition requires all the seats of NZ First to form government and even then it possibly falls short.  The notion that pushing enough votes towards either Labour or Greens to allow them to form government without NZ First is subsequently highly unfeasible. There would need to be a serious political shake-up to put Labour/Greens into a position where they can form government without NZ First but there really is no evidence to suggest that shake-up has occurred yet.

Winston is the fourth largest party, who’s the third?

Despite popular opinion there are in fact four major parties represented in NZ parliament. Due to the Memorandum of Understanding between the Labour and Greens however, any notion of suggesting that the Greens could work as a kingmaker as opposed to Winston seems lost.

The case for a Blue-Green coalition

Within the last electoral cycle Labour has made an absolute mockery of the New Zealand left. It began by targeting home-owners with Chinese sounding last names to cutting our immigration numbers by 50,000. The final straw has been Labour’s “industrial grade hypocrisy”  over it’s mistreatment of imported students to campaign for Labour despite promoting policy that would cut student visas. Lets face it, by jumping on the anti-immigration Trump train NZ Labour has found themselves to have more in common with NZ First’s rhetoric than the progressiveness of the Greens. Considering Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has herself slammed Winston Peters for being a racist it’s not unreasonable to suggest that the Greens could apply the same logic to Labour.

If the Greens were to enter coalition with National, it’s likely that they could do so in a fashion that separates the political elitism of cabinet positions to enforce rational and climate friendly policy. Where Winston is likely to insist on being Deputy PM (or even worse, Co-PM) the Greens can negotiate from a stance of maturity to make sure that a future government can implement effective climate policy whilst also pulling a potential government further towards the left.

This is an absolute pipe dream however. For National to make a move toward effective climate policy they’ll need to start regulating the carbon emissions produced by the dairy industry which will upset their largely farmer voter base. Following that, the Greens voter-base will likely reject a coalition deal with National as well. This is because the Greens have been fighting tooth and nail against National for the last 9 years; to enter a coalition with the enemy will be likely seen as a betrayal to both the Green party membership and the New Zealand left as whole. A coalition deal with National and the Greens is ridiculously unrealistic but hey stranger things have happened.

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“What if Winston wasn’t the kingmaker?”
“Don’t be stupid”said the Greens.
“That’s just ridiculous”said National.

Hi friends, if you enjoyed this feel free enough feel free to give a chuck a share or tweet in my direction. Any opportunity to boost the reach would be greatly appreciated. (If you didn’t enjoy it, you are still welcomed to share it!)

Author: almostpopularblog

I'm an International Relations and Media Graduate from Victoria University in Wellington. I'm too indecisive to explain my compass but you might be able to infer how I stand on things from my *hopefully* many posts. Disclaimer: The opinions I present on this blog do not represent any company or organisation that I may be affiliated to. You can find more blogs like mine at

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