There is some irony in an accusation someone is "perpetually outraged" coming from the mouth of a NZ First MP.

It came in NZ First MP Richard Prosser's press release about the term "Gypsy Day" to describe the day sharemilkers across the nation up-sticks (or rather, up-cows) and move to their new patch.

Prosser's outrage was directed at Otago Regional Council for dropping the term "Gypsy Day" because it was considered offensive and derogatory.

Prosser declared this was a lot of nonsense.


"This is yet another case of the perpetually outraged trying to find something else to get offended about."

NZ First makes a living out of perpetual outrage. The master of the art is leader Winston Peters.

And he's just warming up.

'Tis the season to be populist and NZ First's aim is to appeal to good keen men, the straight shooters, the people who tell it as it is.

Peters started it off last year by going to the West Coast and offering to be first into the drift if they entered the Pike River mine.

Of course this was a ridiculous proposition. If there were to be a re-entry, it would be subject to very strict safety procedures.

Those presumably do not include a stray MP with a fag in his gob wandering about conducting a bush-scientist's inspection of the site.

But he got what he wanted: calls of "Winston for PM".


This month he followed up by visiting Christchurch and demanding the Christchurch Cathedral be re-built.

Keen observers will have noticed Peters gave almost exactly the same pledge three years ago in 2014 - the last election year.

At the time the Anglican Church told Peters to butt out.

He took its advice and was silent on it for the next three years.

How happy Peters must have been to find out the Cathedral was still a live issue come the next election year.

Those voting on such antics should be wary of Peters' mastery of the art of illusion when it comes to "bottom lines".

In 2014, he said he had given "a written commitment" to raise the Christchurch Cathedral in coalition negotiations after the election.

There is a big gap between "raising" something and making it a bottom line.

A commitment to raise something is meaningless, whether written or by semaphore.

But it sounded pretty good to those who wanted it to be a bottom line.

A while ago there was a fake butter product called "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter".

Now we brace ourselves for a series of "I Can't Believe It's Not a Bottom Line" bottom lines.

This week came another of his pet hates: World Smokefree Day.

In 2016, Peters alone stood up against the smoke-free goal and the Government's decision to raise tobacco taxes.

He suggested the Government aim at fat people instead of smokers if it wanted to save lives.

He said he was simply standing up for fairness and personal freedom.

He warned of consequences - and, lo, so they happened.

Those consequences delivered another field day to him in the form of a law and order problem.

Dairies were being robbed for cigarettes for the black market.

Imagine his horror yesterday when the Defence Force decided to be smoke-free by 2020.

Actually, you don't need to. Here it is:

"This is the kind of Government that would send somebody to die and won't give him a chance, or her a chance, to have a smoke before it happens," he said.

Had such a thing happened under a Labour Government, it is fair to say National would have ridden into the attack - bureaucrats deciding the troops could not smoke for them.

But now National is complicit in what it used to decry as nanny statism, Peters has the field to himself.

And he likes it like that.

Another part of Peters' campaigns consist of regular attacks on the newspaper he loves to hate - the NZ Herald.

Tuesday's newspaper featured an advertisement for a NZ First mid-winter fundraising lunch hosted by Peters at a Cossie club.

For the bargain price of $40, a select few could go along (cash bar). Last tickets!

Let nobody accuse the Herald of lacking a sense of humour.

The ad was placed on a World Smokefree Day page below a photo of a coffin and next to an ad for hearing aids.