Prime Minister John Key has assured New Zealanders that the construction of a 20ft golden statue of Winston Peters outside Parliament is just a part of compromise to build consensus on a new law governing the actions and limitations of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
On TV3’s Firstline this morning, Key told host Rachel Smalley that the statue was one piece of a comprehensive deal to reform the GCSB, and that he was “cool with it.”
“I think what people have to understand is that, actually, we are a minority government,” said Key. “We have 59 votes in the House, and to pass legislation, we have to reach out to other political parties and build consensus. I might say ‘Look, I want a bit more flexibility for the GCSB so they can provide data to police more effectively,’ and Winston might say ‘I want a giant golden statue of myself at the seat of power in this country.’
“Obviously, we have to find a middle ground between those two positions, and that’s just a part of the normal give and take that occurs during these negotiations.”
Asked whether he thought a golden statue of Peters was appropriate, Key said he had yet to make up his own mind, but that he would let people see the statue and decide for themselves.
“I think most New Zealanders would agree that Winston Peters has been a politician for a long time,” he said.
Construction on the statue would begin next week, provided the Government could find the raw materials.
Despite the agreement to build an expensive monument in his likeness, Peters is maintaining this morning that the Prime Minister is a “wily shyster” intent on “sinking this economy, and a whole generation with it.”
He said that while the construction of the statue was a positive step, it was but a small measure, and if National wanted to retain the treasury benches after next year’s election, it would have to commit to “much larger reforms,” such as Winston Peters as Finance Minister and the sacrificial burning of Peter Dunne.