Winston Peters pushes away aggressive heckler
As party files complaint over Dirty PoliticsELTON SMALLMAN AND AIMEE GULLIVER
Winston Peters is coming out swinging — in more ways than one — after being named as an alleged target of dirty political tricks in Nicky Hager’s new book.
New Zealand First has filed a complaint with ministerial services over the attack politics described in the book, and the party's leader leader gave as good as he got when he was embroiled in a heated exchange of words with a member of the public that turned physical at a public rally outside the Hamilton City Council buildings in Garden Place.
About 50 people had gathered around to hear Peters talk about Hager’s new book Dirty Politics and the GCSB but when the topic of jobs came up, he was interrupted.
‘‘How about doing your job for three years, not sitting on your arse for two and a half years and then at election time starting to do some work, sir. Do some work yourself.’’
The heckler, who wouldn’t talk to media, walked off screaming, "he’s a con-man," but Peters called him back.
‘‘Hey, gutless, come back here. Wait for question time.’’
The man forced his way to the microphone stand but was cut off by Peters and as they stood side-by-side, Peters shoved him away with his forearm.
‘‘There is going to be a question-time so you can’t come up here. Now gutless, come back here and listen.’’
A supporter tried to push the heckler away through a chorus of jeers from the crowd of 50 with a large contingent of young voters but from the group but Peters told him the man was within his right to stay.
‘‘Don’t hurt him,’’ said Peters. ‘‘But he is not doing that.’’
‘‘Hey mate, can’t you wait for question time? Don’t you believe in democracy? You don’t believe in democracy do you.’’
The heckler replied, ‘‘no’’.
‘‘You mate, go and vote for the National Party. You are the kind of supporter that we don’t want.’’
‘‘Thank you for giving us a display of what you and your party are like. Dirty underhand tactics.’’
The heckler said called Peters lazy and made his way back to the microphone to say he had no political affiliations.
‘‘No, no, go away,’’ said Peters. ‘‘This is a democracy. You are not going to take the stage. Get off it. Get out of the way, bugger off.’’
The heckler stormed off but not before he cried, ‘‘Sieg heil.’’
NZ FIRST FILES COMPLAINT
Dirty Politics was released late yesterday after having earlier been shrouded in secrecy, apparently to stop some of the people named taking out an injunction to stop its publication.
The book is based on thousands of emails that revealed the extent of the relationship between Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and prominent National Party figures.
Peters said the actions described in the book were a “disgusting new low” in New Zealand politics.
Dirty Politics revealed Slater had put money into attack advertisements against Peters.
He had also put a bounty out on Peters and New Zealand First MP Andrew Williams, promising Whale Oil readers cash for photos or videos of Peters and Williams intoxicated.
Peters spoke to Stuff ahead of his speech in Hamilton today, saying the whole thing was “pretty sleazy and seedy in the extreme.”
But he was not surprised - a National Party worker and MP had told him seven years ago the party was engaged in these tactics.
“That’s what I suspected they were doing because I was given inside information from within the National Party. There are some people in the National Party that don’t like this dirt.”
NZ First had lodged a complaint with ministerial services over the allegations.
“It goes straight to the Prime Minister’s office and people working for the Prime Minister’s office seriously abusing taxpayer’s money and engaging in unethical, underhand, dirty politics.”
The revelations were “hugely substantial” and Prime Minister John Key could not dismiss Hager as a “conspiracy theorist”, Peters said. “This book was written from their emails, their communications, their behaviour.”
“There’s no denying that, and it’s happening at the most senior level.”
Peters compared the revelations in Dirty Politics to the Watergate scandal in the United States which brought about the demise of President Richard Nixon.
“In America, when similar behaviour was exposed, the culprits went to prison.
“Now we’ve got to make up our minds what sort of democracy we want. Because this sort of behaviour going unpunished is not acceptable.”
A lot of National Party people would be “deeply disquieted” by the book, Peters said.