Peters’ le­gal ac­tion does not dis­credit talks

Otago Daily Times - - EDITORIAL -

‘‘COALI­TION talks dis­cred­ited’’ howls the ed­i­to­rial (ODT, 13.11.17), re­spond­ing to the news that Win­ston Peters is tak­ing le­gal ac­tion against in­di­vid­u­als he sus­pects of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the leak­ing of his per­sonal de­tails dur­ing the cam­paign.

First, ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens were con­ducted in good faith, reached a con­clu­sion sat­is­fac­tory to all and a gov­ern­ment that rep­re­sents more than 50% of the votes was formed. That process has not been dis­cred­ited.

Sec­ond, Mr Peters and his party had no obli­ga­tion to even con­sider form­ing a gov­ern­ment with Na­tional.They could have just ne­go­ti­ated with one side, and that would have been per­fectly hon­ourable. That is, af­ter all, what the Greens did.

Third, there is no ev­i­dence ne­go­ti­a­tions with Na­tional were con­ducted in any­thing but good faith. While it is true that Mr Peters had rea­son to mis­trust and dis­like sig­nif­i­cant mem­bers of the Na­tional Party team, it is also true that the pug­na­cious Mr Peters had a his­tory of dis­lik­ing and mis­trust­ing some on the other side.When form­ing coali­tions old re­sent­ments can be put aside.

Fourth, the fact that the pa­pers were drawn up be­fore the coali­tion dis­cus­sions be­gan but not served un­til last week leaves open the op­tion that, had a Na­tional­New Zealand First coali­tion emerged from the ne­go­ti­at­ing process, these pa­pers would not have been served. The ODT

has no way of judg­ing this, and yet chooses to be­lieve that the process was a sham. This de­spite re­ports about the close com­par­i­son of the two com­pet­ing deals, the weigh­ing up of pol­icy matches and the in­volve­ment of the New Zealand First Board and cau­cus in the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Fi­nally, the ODT’s as­ser­tion that ‘‘the only rea­son Ms Ardern is now prime min­is­ter is be­cause of the need by Mr Peters to get re­venge on Na­tional’’ ig­nores the most im­por­tant rea­son we now have the gov­ern­ment we do, which is that 50.4% of vot­ers gave their party votes to Labour, New Zealand First or the Greens.

Suzanne Robins

Dunedin [Abridged]

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