If the Beehive were a US college, Winston Peters would be the It Girl with multiple suitors. Madeleine Chapman presents a guided tour through Peters’ relationship options as the Hot Girl on Campus.
While New Zealand twiddles its collective thumbs and stares longingly at Beehive windows, Winston Peters is meeting with teams from Labour and National to discuss potential partnerships. It’s all about Winston. Winston said this, Winston said that, Winston said something mean to a journalist, and so on. It’s like he’s the new hot girl on campus who everyone wants to know but who everyone also kinda hates. As for the potential MMP deals? They’re your classic clichéd romances. All of them tempting, none of them that great in the harsh light of day.
Winston Peters is New Zealand’s Hot Girl on Campus. He’s hot and he knows it, and everyone wants in. But Hot Girl Winston has to make a relationship choice next week and he’s got options, because the Hot Girl on Campus always has options. What are they, exactly? I read some incredibly boring documents on the official parliament website and hereby present Hot Girl Winston’s options in the form of terrible college relationships.
Coalition with Labour/Greens (polygamy)
A polygamous marriage with Labour and Greens might be fun and exciting at first, but three’s a crowd. A three-way marriage between a woman and two men who hate each other is less polygamy and more sitcom. Hot Girl Winston would get some policies through but it would take a whole lot of arguing with Husband #2 James Shaw.
Alternatively he could enter into a coalition with Labour with confidence and supply from the Greens. This means a legal marriage, potentially pleasant, with the understanding that there’s a fuck buddy on the side. But more on that later…
Coalition with National (doomed romance)
A coalition with National would be a tempestuous marriage for Hot Girl Winston, one where they don’t even remember how they got together in the first place. All they know is they hate each other. Bill is so boring and has annoying friends, but Bill has a swanky house and a steady job and wool carpet. By entering a coalition, Winston would have to vow to support National in every way in exchange for shiny things which Hot Girl Winston wants Bill buys. They’ll sit at tables together and have all the same opinions even though you’re pretty sure you heard Winnie bitching about Bill before they got together.
Neither Hot Girl Winston nor Bill would be able to say they were unhappy but you’d see it in their eyes. A cry for help. Suddenly the wild Hot Girl doesn’t like to have fun anymore. But she has a sweet upgraded Super Gold Card so maybe it’s fine.
Confidence and supply (fuck buddies)
A confidence and supply agreement is reached when two parties don’t want to be seen as an “item” but both have things the other needs. In this instance, Winston could decide to be fuck buddies with either National or Labour/Greens, though not both. It’s not free love. Winston has the votes needed to keep his chosen buddy in power, and he would agree to provide them on every vote that involved “confidence” or “supply”. Confidence means a vote that, if the government lost, it would have to call a new election. Supply means supporting the budget, which is actually a confidence issue too, because if the government can’t get its budget passed it can’t govern. In exchange for supporting the budget shopping list, Winston could add some things to the trolley, like a few policies and a ministerial position.
In other words, Winston will offer his Hot Girl status to some nerd every Friday night in exchange for all the science cheat sheets. Anything more than that would require some negotiations and flirty back-and-forth. It’s a win-win in the short term but can get messy quickly. The problem with being fuck buddies is that no matter how many times you tell all your friends “omg I don’t even like him”, all they see every Friday at the club is you two hooking up in the corner and they assume you’re together.
The last fuck buddy National had was the Māori Party (as well as ACT and United Future RIP) and, like all casual relationships, it ended pretty terribly, with the Māori Party unable to shake the label. Because when you’ve been public fuck buddies with a guy for nine years, any potential partners will want you to be tested before committing.
Crossbench (stubbornly single)
It’s all about the status here. Hot Girl Winston knows he’s attractive to all parties and is fielding offers of courtship from every direction. But like any stereotyped Hot Girl, he may consider himself too good for everyone and stay single forever. He could have any partner he wants and yet wants no one, asserting a position neither in government nor in opposition. Sitting on the crossbenches will most likely lead to an agreement to abstain, which means any NZ First votes on budget issues would be excluded and National could run a minority government. Labour-Greens couldn’t because together they still wouldn’t make up a majority, even with NZF seats deducted.
While this option would allow Winston and his Hot Girl votes to potentially manipulate parties into currying his favour, nobody likes a tease. And by refusing to commit, he’d get none of the perks of a relationship, like an upgrade to the Super Gold Card or a ban on foreign buyers. Sitting on the crossbenches, Hot Girl Winston would be confined to life as a mistress, with only the power to end relationships, not build them.
So while a crossbench life sounds appealing for its independence, at the end of the day even the Hot Girl on Campus can end up alone, abstaining from votes and abstaining from sex.
Live the Hot Girl life (drop out)
Winston Peters could just leave. He could go live in his giant house, collect his now correct superannuation, and spend the rest of his waking hours getting free ferry rides to and from Waiheke Island. Truly the life of a Hot Girl.