Alf has been delighting today in the NZ Herald’s recollections of the ups and downs of a certain Andrew Williams.
The latest news is that New Zealand First looks likely to dump him because he antagonised its hierarchy by publicly complaining about his demotion in the party’s draft list.
It was news to Alf, of course, that the party has a hierarchy.
He thought it had one chief, Winston Peters, and a few Indians. But not much, organisationally, in between.
It was not news that Williams’ political career is in trouble. He had stuck his neck out and…
The Herald understands Mr Williams will be absent from the party’s list, due for release either today or tomorrow, and will no longer stand in the seat of East Coast Bays.
This would effectively mean the end his career as a New Zealand First MP.
But he already had been dropped to Number 13 on the party’s draft list.
This was the end of the line for him, in Alf’s sober judgement after deep analysis of poll results. He might have been able to press for a slightly better position on the list but not good enough to get him back into Parliament.
So what’s he done wrong?
Party leader Winston Peters hinted at the dumping yesterday when he said he was “very concerned” that one of his MPs appeared to have broken party confidentiality by speaking publicly about the selection process.
Breaching confidentiality was “very serious”, he said.
But there’s more to it in that, surely.
It sounds like two sheilas have been Andy’s undoing.
Mr Williams told the Herald last week that the party deputy leader, Tracey Martin, saw him as a threat and wanted him “removed”.
He blamed her and her mother, party president Anne Martin, for his fall from number 3 to 13 on a draft of the party list, a position so low that his return to Parliament would be highly unlikely.
New Zealand First’s list is decided by a List Ranking Committee which includes the leader, deputy leader, president, vice-presidents and directors.
Confidentiality (you will be surprised to learn) is very important to Peters and his minions.
At least, that’s what they are saying to explain why they are saying nothing.
Mr Peters, Tracey Martin and Anne Martin would not comment on the matter today, citing confidentiality.
Anne Martin said last week that she was disappointed in Mr Williams, but today would not discuss whether he had breached party rules by speaking to media about his list ranking.
Mr Williams did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
It’s here that the Herald goes back into history to remind us Andy was the mayor of North Shore from 2007 to 2010.
A bit of an oddball, too.
He has been a controversial figure and, in 2009, sent a series of “obnoxious and aggressive” text messages to Prime Minister John Key. The same year he left a message on the answer machine of then-Christchurch mayor Bob Parker, complaining about the city’s nightlife and “third world” restaurant service.
Mr Williams blamed his erratic behaviour on prescription painkillers and a lack of sleep.
He made headlines again in 2010 for urinating outside his council building after drinking at a nearby bar, then driving home.
Earlier this year, two New Zealand First employees received payouts after what they described as “bullying” by Mr Williams.
Dunno what he’s done to piss off Tracey Martin, but last week Andy was saying he has clashed with her ever since she became deputy ahead of him a year ago.
Mr Williams said he was now an outsider despite being the most experienced politician after his stint as the North Shore mayor.
The most experienced compared with whom?
But Alf is a generous fellow and wishes him well in whatever might be his future career.
He suggests Andy might go abroad in his quest for new opportunities.
Syria or Iraq, perhaps. They are calling out for strong leadership
Mind you, he would be wise not to be caught with his willy out while piddling outside his office while he is in one of those countries. They are dab hands with a sword.