Winston Peters hasn't won them all, of course.

But his pronouncements on refugees and our quota is another very tangible sign of just how much power he actually has in this Government - especially given the size of his party and the amount of support he has.

We will not be raising our target to 1500 refugees, and we will not be doing that because Peters says we won't.


Which makes it somewhat embarrassing for Labour given they, up until a couple of days ago, were still wandering around thinking and saying we were.

This speaks to a lack of communication within the ranks. This looks sloppy and disorganised.

Sort your differences out behind closed doors, have all the scraps you want. But when in public, it's all from the same song sheet.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Nauru early on Wednesday morning. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Nauru early on Wednesday morning. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Peters also struck recently on the three strikes front, Justice Minister Andrew Little's tragic PC attempt to keep people out of prison by going soft.

Peters, knowing what side of the bread the butter is, was having none of it. So it's dead and buried.

And dare I suggest on both fronts he's actually read the mood of the nation, well beyond his specific party support.

And by doing so, has in some small way helped the coalition. He's saved them from themselves, he appears to be able to see what they can't.

Just letting refugees into the country is not a policy, ask anyone in Europe.

No-one was more generous than Angela Merkel in Germany last summer. Massive big door and an even bigger welcome sign, and look what happened to her.


So back here what we have always prided ourselves on was quality.

While so much of the world deals in quantity, we actually made sure that those we took got more than a new country to start a life in.

They got services and support, and we have been recognised all over the world for it.

Peters also quite rightly points out that there are bits of this country we might like to attend to, before we attend to the rest of the planet's burgeoning problems.

As they sit in Nauru this week, those who are stuck in the camps, the reason this all got raised in the first place, aren't actually our problem.

Another skill Peters seems to have mastered: staying out of other people's business.

The Nauru situation is between Australia and Nauru. We are not the world's wet nurse.

And nor do most New Zealanders want us to be.

Peters gets it, and hopefully through his actions, it might dawn on his coalition mates as well.