Prelude: Today’s column has been sparked by an article in the New Zealand Herald by Bruce Cotterill, which is a must-read for everyone dedicated to a peaceful, orderly future for New Zealand. (It’s behind a paywall, but well worth the price).

In essence, after discussing all the changes being made by the Ardern government, including Maorification under He Puapua, Bruce concludes:

“In isolation, each of these changes seems moderate. However, when you put them all together, it starts to sound like a major transformation in a very short amount of time. And it doesn’t feel unintentional.

“It feels like the New Zealand we once had, just a few short years ago, is now under siege. Not from war makers. But from lawmakers. We need a strong media and a stronger opposition to halt the progress of the change-masters. Both have been ineffective to date. And when the next opportunity comes, we will most certainly need to use whatever voice we have left. Democracy is, after all, the voice of the people.”

So to my Open Letter to Winston:


Dear Winston,

If you value the name and aims of the political party you formed in 1993 “to represent those New Zealanders concerned about the social and economic direction of our country, and who were seeking pragmatic, common-sense representation in Parliament” you’d better take some decisive action before you find yourself with a new title, Aotearoa Kotahi, courtesy of the He Puapua-befuddled socialist you imposed on the country as Prime Minister after the 2017 General Election.

You made yourself very clear in your speech at the recent Annual General Meeting of New Zealand First:

In particular, you said:

“Our mantra is for unity, not division. For cohesion, not separatism. For government, not parallel or co-government. We believe that in New Zealand we are all equal. That government is there, regardless of gender or race, to provide its people with security, freedom and equality because they have been trained to be secure, free and equal. That way we will all be free to choose our future because we have been given the tools to do so. We are against extremism from wherever it may come, the Right or the Left. Our beliefs are in our name, New Zealand First.”

So what are you going to do about it?

It doesn’t sound like a return to coalition with the current separatist Labour Party. This leaves you with the only other alternative: forget your utu, swallow your pride, and talk to National.  I am one who thinks your greatest service to our country still lies ahead of you: as Minister of Foreign Affairs in the National/ACT/NZ First coalition government that stands an excellent chance of becoming government at the 2023 General Election (if the current lot last that long).

I plan to talk to National Leader Judith Collins, who will assuredly become Prime Minister at that 2023 election, with the aim of convincing her that you, Winston Peters, possess a unique ability to charm people in high places that will serve her government well in forging better understanding between such disparate elements as China, the United States and Australia. You could be her best bet as her Minister of Foreign Affairs.

It will take a special talent to help New Zealand, America and Australia to understand that the one-party, command economy works for China and its peoples, as it has for the many civilisations that prevailed for millennia before our own western democracies; while at the same time assuring China’s leaders and peoples that the more widespread and deeper prosperity to which they aspire has nothing to fear from the western countries whose markets they need for the output of their vast and increasingly efficient workforce.

New Zealand is a small player at the bottom of the Indo-Pacific part of the world. Our relationships with the principal big players, China, Japan, Indonesia, Australia and the United States are sufficiently benign to enable us to play the role of broker in the process of bringing those big players closer together. This demands a special blend of talent, charm and experience in the portfolio of Minister of Foreign Affairs; a blend that you, Winston, among all the likely contenders, seem to me to offer to the fullest extent.

So I hope you will ponder these words from an ageing Nat, and that others will join me in assuring you that your finest hour is still at hand.

Kia ora, kia manawanui!

Terry Dunleavy, MBE, JP.

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Open Letter to Right Hon. Winston Peters: “Watch Out! Your Party’s Name Is under Threat!”
Terry Dunleavy

Terry Dunleavy

Terry Dunleavy, 92 years young, was a journalist before his career took him into the wine industry as inaugural CEO of the Wine Institute of New Zealand and his leading role in the development of wine...