Whichever angle you look at it, NZ First is in for an interesting term in quasi-coalition.
Rodney reckons Winston P pushed to bring back the Electoral Integrity Act, fearing his party splitting. It wouldn't be the first time. Remember Mauri Pacific, the Maori party before the Maori Party? Well, they didn't have half the reasons that the current NZ First caucus has to walk out.
Winston is now just like the rest of his List colleagues; electorate-less. He couldn't hold his own seat. The Member for Tauranga no more! Winston has obviously given up the ghost on getting the seat back by any honest means too. Oh yeah, Winston bought a bridge for them. And he's getting the racing industry $30 mill each way. He sprinkled the wrinklies with a tenner a week and a coupon card. Kevin Taylor sums it up in the Herald as a return to pork-barrel politics.
But prancing around on overseas trips does little to endear yourself to the locals, something that Bob the Builder will use to entrench his hold on Tauranga. Winston has lost that for good. All those taxpayer-funded trips that the Foreign Minister will take also give the other NZ First MPs ample opportunity to mull alternatives around the ever-decreasing caucus table.
Was Woolerton's resignation as President a token bunt or was this truly some Principled Thing? Even assuming the Electoral Integrity Act reboots before a split, Winston will still have to worry about a leadership coup. He won't be around forever. Will the rest of NZ First tie their political careers to the raggedy-arsed fortunes of a man on the decline?
There's going to be some interesting talks around the barbie this summer.