Peters living by his own advice, day by day

You know the election is serious when a cabinet minister, albeit one who has been stood down from his portfolio responsibilities, starts quoting cartoon characters in election speeches.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is never short of someone to blame in politics, although it is usually the media,While the media got another blast yesterday, Mr Peters turned to "that great American philosopher Homer J. Simpson" for some advice to University of Waikato students.

"Your lives are in the hands of men no smarter than you or I, many of them incompetent boobs. I know this because I worked alongside them, gone bowling with them, watched them pass me over for promotions time and again. And I say . . . this stinks."

So if he was to offer the students any advice for the future, these would be Mr Peters' suggestions.

• Grab each day as it comes along and enjoy it. You never know when it could be your last.

• Always read books - any books but especially novels.

• Go fishing whenever you can. Apparently God does not deduct fishing time from our lives.

• Be loyal to your friends.

• Keep laughing.

• Don't keep filling your heads with useless information.

• Don't eat too many carbohydrates.

• Save yourselves and save Grandma - vote New Zealand First.

In the last few months, Mr Peters has shown he has been living his own advice.

He certainly has been grabbing each day as it comes along, battling through a privileges inquiry, surviving a Serious Fraud Office investigation, which found no fraud had occurred, and awaiting the results of a case laid with the police.

No-one could be sure that it would not be his last day in politics.

But he does not always seem to read books, especially receipt books or those issued by trust accounts, otherwise he would not have had to see off all the various inquiries.

After the first MMP election in 1996, Mr Peters went fishing for a day or two while former prime minister Jim Bolger, and the country, awaited his decision on whether he would go with National or Labour.

He went with National. He has been sacked twice by National prime ministers.

In 1999, he went with Labour and has been stood down by the current Prime Minister, Helen Clark.

For her part, Miss Clark has stayed loyal to Mr Peters.

She had the opportunity to sack him but resisted the temptation.

Now the two of them are battling over the elderly vote and who thought up the universal student allowance. (Mr Peters did).

He continues to laugh in the face of adversity, calling out to the media pack pursuing him through the corridors of Parliament: "You all have a good day."

Whether or not he fills his head with useless information is open for discussion.

He does appear to have some memory lapses, until prompted, about things like donations, phone calls and sponsors.

Mr Peters is not known to eat too many carbohydrates, surviving on cigarettes and whatever the Green Parrot serves in the middle of the night.

And will voters save their grandma and Mr Peters? One can never write off the man who started his political career with a court challenge and it would be foolish to do so now.

• The leaders debate last night between Miss Clark and National Party leader John Key ended with Mr Key emerging as the winner by a small margin after an over-energetic start.



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