Back in July, the news from New Zealand was that “New Zealand First has hired a crew of political operators from one of the most aggressive groups in the Brexit campaign to cause ‘mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare’ before the September election, according to The Daily Telegraph, the Conservative-leaning British broadsheet newspaper”.
“According to The Telegraph's chief political correspondent, Christopher Hope, a six-person team from Banks' Leave.EU has been ‘dispatched to Auckland’ to work on New Zealand First's campaign. They've reportedly been instructed to double the party's count of MPs to 20 … Andy Wigmore, one of Banks' main lieutenants, told the newspaper: ‘I'm going to be on ground in New Zealand causing trouble - mischief, mayhem and guerrilla warfare in the New Zealand election - the bad boys are back.’” But he wasn’t,
As The Spinoff pointed out, “It is uncertain on what basis Wigmore intends to be ‘on the ground’ in New Zealand. There is no known exemption to the strict border controls for political strategists or self-styled ‘bad boys of Brexit’”. The country had not eradicated Covid-19 from its territory only to let it back in on a flight from London.
Peters, meanwhile, had acquired another friend: “Peters has also had praise in the past from the former head of UKIP, Nigel Farage. The two men bonded over cricket and a political platform built on opposition to immigration. Now they both share a working relationship with Banks, who helped underwrite much of Farage's career”. But, ultimately, he denied the claims made by Banks and Wigmore. They wouldn’t be helping out.
The Guardian did sound a warning about the possibility that NZ first might not hit the 5% needed to get into Parliament (the rule is that, and/or winning a seat outright), but at the time he was having none of it. The electorate, though, is no longer interested in him. But it is interested in Ms Ardern, whose swift action to combat Covid-19 has contributed to her Labour Party polling so well that it may be able to secure an outright majority.
The BBC has reported “Ms Ardern's Labour Party is projected to win 64 seats - enough to give them an outright majority. No party has managed to do so in New Zealand since it introduced a parliamentary system known as Mixed Member Proportional representation (MMP) in 1996”. Winston Peters was the kingmaker, able to decide who would be PM - because NZ First’s MPs could get another party over the majority line.
Now, thanks to Banksy and Wiggy, his party and career are over. What a pair of clowns.