Winston Peters: New Zealand’s Crusader Against Identity Politics

The Unshackled will be in New Zealand later this year to cover that nation’s general election to be held on Saturday 23rd September, in association with our New Zealand sister site Right Minds. New Zealand is in some ways similar to Australia, being an Anglosphere nation using the Westminster system, but in many ways different.

New Zealand only has a unicameral parliament, the House of Representatives is its sole chamber, however it is elected via proportion representation under a system called mixed member proportionate (MMP). This allows any party that obtains over 5% of the vote to have representation in parliament. Despite this, government is still formed by the two major parties, the National Party (its centre-right party) and the Labour Party (its centre-left party).

The National Party has been in power for the past nine years and is now under the leadership of Bill English, but you would hardly describe it as a conservative government. The previous National Prime Minister John Key championed a failed referendum on changing New Zealand flag, same sex marriage was legalised, the refugee intake was increased and the nation offered to take some of Australia’s refugees. Think of the National Party as if it was the entire Liberal Party full of Malcolm Turnbulls.

The New Zealand Labour Party is even worse, for example its previous leader David Cunliffe apologised for being a man in 2014 in front of a group of feminists and claimed there was “deep-seated sexism” in the nation. There is also a Greens Party in New Zealand whose environment policies hinders the ability of New Zealand to have heavy industries, depressing its economic strength.

But probably the worst thing that New Zealand suffers from is the prevalence of political correctness and identity politics. New Zealand has its own Human Rights Commission with its own version of Gillian Triggs with current Commission President Susan Devoy. She rages that New Zealand is full of racism and her Commission recently funded an anti-racism advertising campaign.

New Zealand’s national day is very politically correct, Waitangi Day as it celebrates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the Maori people and British settlers. This day is used by the politically correct in Australia as their justification for claiming that Australia Day is not inclusive and offensive to Indigenous Australians, and that it should be moved to another day.

But arguably the worst aspect of identity politics in New Zealand is that there are designated Maori seats in New Zealand’s Parliament, this means that you have to be of Maori ethnicity to be eligible to vote and run in these seats. You could not have a more a blatantly racist voting criterion than this. Because of the existence of these seats Maori people have their own political party, simply called the Maori Party. Again, it is another aspect of New Zealand politics that Australian leftists want to import here with demands for Aboriginal-only seats in parliament.

Thankfully New Zealand has one party that stands up against this seemingly bi-partisan support for political correctness and identity politics. The New Zealand First Party led by Winston Peters has been a major player in New Zealand politics since its founding in 1993. The party is polling at nearly 11% currently and could hold the balance of power following September’s election.

Winston Peters announced his party’s manifesto during their party conference this weekend in Auckland. Peters is 72 years old and was first elected to Parliament as National MP in 1978 but is showing no signs of leaving politics anytime soon.

His big announcement at the conference was that his party would demand in any Coalition agreement a binding referendum to abolish Maori seats declaring “Maori don’t need the Maori seats, they don’t need any more tokenism”. Winston Peters like every other similar right-wing politician is called racist for holding this position, yet they forget that he is half Maori himself.

His other policies were another binding referendum to reduce the size of New Zealand’s Parliament from 120 to 100 seats, sure to save the taxpayer millions of dollars. He also announced he wants the annual immigration intake cut to 10,000. It is our hope that New Zealand can avoid the same immigration mistakes that are coming home to roost in Australia.

Improving New Zealanders’ living standards was also another key promise: “Some of us know what poverty smells, tastes and feels like. Some of us have been there in the past”, and he raged against the political establishment’s failure on the issue, “They want to know why as working men and women they are so damn poor. And why so many shiny bums in Wellington are not doing anything to help them.” Despite being a first world country New Zealand has a major problem with housing affordability and real wages are lower than Australia.

Winston’s critics argue he is just trying to ride the populist wave after the success of Trump and return of Pauline Hanson in Australia, but Winston has been a conviction politician all his life, it would just appear this election is where the public is most interested in his message.

Although we in Australia often have not much sympathy for the plight of the Kiwis, we should all hope that our Anglosphere cousin does not go down the same path as Australia with regard to a leftist agenda. Its conservative party has already been corrupted by leftist influence, but lucky for them a real conservative alternative is ready to go.