The real election victor is the big lie
OPINION: It's the one thing politicians of every hue in our election campaign could agree on – that voters would decide the next Government.
Anyone asking Winston Peters, before Saturday, if he'd back a Labour- or National-led Government was met with derision.
Such questions were for voters to decide, he snarled.
Bill English and Jacinda Ardern took a similar stance, saying they could only work with the hand they were dealt with.
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With his position as kingmaker confirmed on Saturday, Peters doubled down on his "don't rush me" message.
He called for patience until NZ First consulted its membership, according to its "democratic process".
So, the almost 2.2 million votes cast across the country did not decide who will be in power for the next three years, despite the surely too-strong-to-ignore message that National should be at the helm.
Instead, the political direction of the country is left in the hands of a party that commanded just 7.5 per cent of the vote and its members – a tiny proportion of the 163,000 people who voted NZ First.
In a campaign dominated by untruths, that voters get to decide who is in power seems to be the biggest nose-grower of them all.
Of course, the most infamous was Steven Joyce's accusation of an $11.7 billion hole in Labour's financials.
Nobody outside the National Party agreed, but perhaps the mud stuck and the tactic worked.
Similarly, even at the final televised leaders' debate last week, English swore black and blue Labour would raise income taxes.
It wouldn't have. Instead, it had promised to cancel the proposed tax cuts of April 1 next year – the date 50,000 children are magically supposed to drop out of poverty (speaking of untruths).
It's a shame to see "big lie" politics dominate, when, despite being challenged with facts, a politician will repeat their falsity over and over again until it begins to resonate.
Labour was guilty of this practice too, saying National had cut health funding when, actually, the sector just isn't funded to the level Labour deems appropriate.
As NZ First wangles the best deal for itself and the small minority who voted for it, it's them and not you who are deciding the country's direction. That, Mr Peters, is no democratic process.