Adam Bennett is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald
Can’t say he is any good at it because he has never interviewed Alf or reported his speeches.
But he would make a much worse defence or war correspondent.
Alf makes this judgement today on the strength of the very daft first paragraph to a story about someone who has been in Parliament almost as long as Alf.
Bennett has written:
NZ First Leader Winston Peters is taking the fight to Colin Craig by refusing to rule out standing against the Conservative Party Leader in East Coast Bays.
In the next breath Bennett deals with NZ First’s party conference, an occasion for which they required an old-fashined phone box to pack ’em all in, but nowadays we don’t have phone boxes any more.
And so we learn:
As NZ First marks its 21st anniversary at its birthplace, Auckland’s Alexandra Park, Mr Peters also indicated he is set to announce a tax on foreign investment.
About 150 NZ First members are gathered for the conference while across town Mr Craig’s party was winding up its own annual meeting.
It seems there is a bit of bad blood between Peters and Craig:
Mr Peters again claimed Mr Craig had plagiarised much of NZ First’s policies, but he said the Conservatives didn’t have “the commitment” to make those policies happen.
Bennett proceeds to remind us that Craig is standing in East Coast Bays where he stands little chance of winning unless National’s incumbent, Foreign Minister Murray McCully stands aside.
“If you need a ladder from some other party to climb the MMP 5 per cent threshold wall then how committed will you be after the election in negotiations when you’re beholden to the party you’re negotiating with” Mr Peters said in an interview with TV3’s The Nation.
“That makes us strong it means he’s weak, it means he will not survive this campaign.”
Peters is then reported to have said many people had suggested he stand in East Coast Bays given the “outrage” of a potential deal between Mr Craig and National.
“I think it’s an exciting thought… we’ll wait around and think about it.
“I’m not ruling that out.”
This is like Churchill saying maybe the Allied Forces should try landing in France and then press on to defeat the Germans in World War II.
But he will sleep on it.
Or the commanders of the Light Brigade saying maybe they should go thundering into the Valley of Death, but let’s wait and see if it is really necessary.
Taking the fight to the enemy means something somewhat different than having a think about what to do next.
It means don’t wait for the enemy to come to you — you go to the enemy. You go on the offensive, not the defensive.
Bennett is giving his readers a bum steer by translating “wait” as “up and at ’em, lads – follow me.”
Peters has done no more than teasingly refuse to rule out standing in East Coast Bays. But he teasingly refuses to rule out lots of things. The enemy is well served by his disinclination to take the offensive in a hurry.