Well, Winston's done it this time. Dagg knows, Labour have bent constitutional conventions like Uri Geller spoons this term, but it takes Winston to break 'em. Unlike the invented-for-Winston post of Treasurer back in the Nat government, Foreign Minister bears some responsibility.
While Colin Espiner was ambivalent on which way Winston was gonna go this morning, his bro correctly called it last Friday on Breakfast's Week in Politics segment. It's 2008 Groundhog Day with Winston. Evil hordes of yellow slanty-eyed devils will ransack our manufacturing sectors, rape the mothers of this nation, walk the streets with impunity, steal Kiwi jobs in authentic Guangdong cuisine. You must have seen this Peter Brown moment from W3 by now, surely.
This is all very well and good for a party which specialises in yanking people's xenophobia chain. I do not agree with it, but one has a right to express it. NZ First's leader, no matter how misguided in his logic and naked self-serving needs, can spout whatever he likes to squeeze some votes. However, it is not a position that can be afforded to a Minister of the Crown.
We're not talking Women's Affairs here either, but the onerous position of representing this country abroad; Foreign Minister. It goes beyond the loose collective responsibility of a caucus, beyond the discipline of cabinet decision-making. For good or ill, the Foreign Minister tows the executive line. Always. Lange as PM overrode cabinet to his, and his government's, peril.
If Peters remains as Foreign Minister, continuing to diss the China FTA to all and sundry abroad with "could do better" snarks, he is acting contrary to his oath to protect New Zealand's interests as expressed through the executive and legislature. Worse still, he is diminishing the position of Foreign Minister, losing face to our international peers. He's a joke, we're a joke. Foreign Minster or NZ First leader, time to choose.