As he looks ahead to the impending election date, Brendan Horan must be feeling aggrieved. New Zealand First’s caucus, mad collection of riffraff that they are, are looking likely to have jobs come 21 September, while Mr Horan is staring down the barrel of definite unemployment.
With election day fast approaching, Mr Horan appears to have made it his personal crusade to ensure that unemployment also comes to Winston Peters and the remainder of his motley crew.
First, there was the allegation that Mr Peters failed to register an interest in a racehorse, closely followed by allegations that Peters was using his Parliamentary leader’s budget as a personal slush fund.
Next came the allegation that NZ First had spent $20,000 in parliamentary funding on software for use in campaigning and fundraising – something which the Speaker is now investigating.
And finally, yesterday came allegations of bullying behaviour.
One their own, and even together, the allegations would ordinarily be well short of troubling Mr Peters’ legendary ability to woo the hearts and minds of the elderly and insane. He could simply have laughed it all off, with a clever quip, and the legions of blue-rinsed women would have continued to swoon.
However, Mr Horan’s baiting of Peters caused the whisky-soaked one to go a step too far in his counter-attack. it’s possible that Peters may have done himself a deal of harm by twice referring to Horan in Parliament as the Jimmy Saville of New Zealand politics. It’s an inexcusable personal attack that can only have turned people away from Peters.
Whether it will do any lasting harm remains to be seen. A few sharp witticisms and the occasional flattering shot of Peters in a double-breasted suit may well cause his followers to quickly forgive and forget. However, Horan (and indeed the National party) will doubtless do their best to keep Peters’ ‘Saville’ comment in the limelight. It’s likely done a lot more damage to Peters’ image than Horan’s allegations.