As much as they might deny it, the way the Peters-Ardern Government handles itself reveals that Winston Peters holds all the cards and makes all the rules.

The Prime Minister announced the Government's "12 priorities" last weekend and did nothing to change that reality.

This smoke-and-mirrors exercise aimed to distract us from the internal chaos of the coalition with some extremely vague and flaky lines that sound nice but have no substance.

We all know that Winston Peters is the bus driver, hence the back-downs on the three strikes law, the increased refugee quota, the possible changes to Labour's flagship employment legislation, and the announcement of what the Crown/Māori relations minister actually does.


All this shows an exorbitant power in the hands of one individual and a complete capitulation of the Greens in allowing this coalition to survive.

But help is on its way in shallow rhetoric from the Prime Minister in the weekend.

The leading virtue of "Grow and share New Zealand's prosperity more fairly" is code for increased personal and company taxes, a capital gains tax, stamp duty on property transfers or whatever taxes they consider will increase the government coffers and take money off hard working New Zealanders.

We can be assured New Zealanders face higher taxes under the Peters-Ardern Government.

Then we have a need to "govern responsibly", which means that any hard decisions or points of difference between the parties will be deferred to working groups, reviews, stakeholder meetings, extravagant talk fests, or a Cabinet process.

The ultimate veto though is in the hands of one individual who failed to win his constituent seat and survived through the mercy of the MMP system.

We know the Peters-Ardern Government says it is there to "Support thriving sustainable regions", but what have they done for the Waikato and Hamilton? What they have done is cancel the main regional priority of the $450 million link from Cambridge to Piarere and tried to placate us by promising a $2.5m subsidy for 160-190 people going to Auckland on a train, that is after the Tuakau and Pokeno residents who work in Auckland have left any seats for Hamiltonians.

But the best rhetoric is to "Deliver open, transformative and compassionate government" when we all know this is the least open and transparent government New Zealand has had for generations.


Question time is no longer a mechanism to get straight answers from ministers and is just a grandstanding opportunity for a select few ministers.

When ministers get into trouble, the Prime Minister is often nowhere to be found and they are left to their own devices with fatal consequences.

There is secrecy around the financial arrangements of Winston Peter's regional slush fund with the terms and conditions of many of the transactions not released publicly.

New Zealand is quickly losing its democratic principles. No matter of fluffy PR spin can remedy the dysfunction within the Government and restore confidence in our economy because investors and business have already determined that this Government is one based on secrecy and hidden agendas.

This will lead to tough economic times for Kiwis and the eventual demise of the Peters-Ardern Government.