Barry Soper: Winston denied dust buster bus ride

52 comments
Northland MP Winston Peters. Photo / Debbie Beadle, Northland Age
Northland MP Winston Peters. Photo / Debbie Beadle, Northland Age

His selflessness knows no bounds. Few of our elected representatives would put themselves on the line like Winston Peters does for his new found constituents.

This impeccably dressed MP - in his pinstripe, double breasted suit, starched white shirt and spit polished black shoes - was willing to risk sartorial saturation, all in the interests of kids from the Mangakahia Area School - and they don't even have a vote.

These delicate little souls are upset, it seems, that their daily journey to school is dusty. Yes, they live in the country, and they're upset about the dust.

So their parents called the dust busting MP, the man who knows bus travel like no other campaigning politician on Northland roads, to investigate. He told the bus operator he'd be a passenger on the school bus the following day and that's when the kerfuffle started.

Keyboards went into overdrive with even the delicate, well-manicured, slender fingers of Nikki Kaye, tapping away a missive after she was alerted to the pending passenger by the Education Ministry. As the associate minister it's obviously her job to deal with trifling issues.

She tapped off a missive to the mandarins, using the common excuse when the Government doesn't want to soil its political hands. Peters bus ride was an operational matter, she told them.

Not uncommonly when Winston Peters is around, the Ministry was concerned for health and safety, and he was denied his Rosa Parks moment.

What followed was pure political theatre which Peters is a master at. It began with a press statement, headed 'Minister throws Peters off bus'. Trouble with that headline is that he'd have to get on the bus first to be thrown off it and the Minister wasn't within cooee of it. But thundering like his namesake Winston Churchill, he described the denial of his bus ride as an example of appalling and disgraceful decision making and claimed National would stop at nothing to thwart him from doing his job.

He was doing battle on behalf of the dusty kids' parents, who he says have been campaigning against the ill effects of voluminous amounts of dust from unsealed roads, no doubt the same roads many of the parents were transported to school on in buses that weren't ventilated in the way they are today!

And he could yet be coughing with the kids. The Education Ministry says with a bit more notice, they'd see what they could do.

Perhaps they're thinking of throwing him under the bus!

Barry Soper is the political editor for NewstalkZB.

Debate on this article is now closed.

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 26 Sep 2016 14:04:11 Processing Time: 574ms