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  • Will Irvine

The Girlies are Fightinggg

Updated: Mar 25


Readers who were disappointed by this year’s musical adaptation of Mean Girls will be excited to know that an even pettier drama is playing out on the free-to-air Parliament TV channel. The ad hoc government assembled by Christopher Luxon (appropriately referred to as the “coalition of chaos” by his detractors) is beginning to experience its first big rifts.

The drama began with Winston Peters’ State of the Nation address in Palmerston North this weekend. The tone of Peter’s speech was gloomy, focusing more on the apparently decrepit state of things than on Peter’s efforts to fix them. It felt as if he had momentarily forgotten that he was now in government—perhaps the result of a career marked by continually shifting allegiances. 

A particular target was “co-governance”, or the amorphous idea of anything Māori that Peters has scapegoated to win votes off racist retirees. Peters compared co-governance to the Nazi caste system that was used to perpetrate the murder of six million Jews during the Second World War. When confronted, Peters doubled down on his comments, prompting Luxon to refer to them as “divisive”, whilst condemning Te Pati Maori in the same breath.

At time of publication, Peters is now claiming that Luxon is being misled by the media, a particularly infantilising depiction of someone who is, in fact, his boss. 

However, Peters’ inflammatory and race-baiting remarks overshadow an even bigger risk to the Coalition’s stability—his acceptance of the Post’s analysis that the government’s economic plan has a 5.6 billion dollar fiscal hole. If the governing parties cannot agree on basic fiscal concerns, can the already-fragile Coalition make it past Budget day?


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