COMMENT

Do you think the Prime Minister understands the trouble her party and Government is in?

The answers to the Peters problem, the drama around the New Zealand First Foundation, would seem to indicate not. It's not her business, she is claiming. Which technically is true, but irrelevant.

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No, she shouldn't be poking her nose into New Zealand First affairs, but surely it defies all common sense that she can't see that Winston's troubles are her troubles, and vice versa.

She is tainted by association. Let us not forget that Winston has always been questionable company. From the early days with the Bolger-Shipley government, to the trouble with Clark that appears frighteningly similar over a decade later. If you hang with New Zealand First - at its very best, it's a colourful ride.

At its worst, it's the end of your government come election time.

The New Zealand First foundation, at first read, looks to have a tremendous number of questions to answer. The fact Peters could not, and would not answer them yesterday, spoke volumes.

The fact we asked for him to help us get his lawyer Brian Henry on the show, and fairly predictably to no avail, speaks volumes as well. If this is legit, it can be easily cleared up.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears to be being dragged along by NZ First. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appears to be being dragged along by NZ First. File photo / Mark Mitchell

Loans are not declarable, donations are. Were they loans or donations? Were monies given to the foundation spent on the party? If they were, were they declared? Was, or is the foundation part of the party? Is Clayton Mitchell the bag man for the donations? And when the donors were giving money, were they giving it to the party or foundation, and did they know? Were loans repaid with loans?

They're all simple questions. And if legitimate, should be able to be responded to with simple answers. The fact we have spent the better part of the week seemingly wading into deeper and deeper waters should have not just raised flags, but alarm bells so loud her wisdom teeth hurt.

To be fair to her, she is playing to type. Nothing seems to be an issue. Nothing is a problem. There is no trouble, there are no decisions to be made.

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But what we are witnessing is a simple truth of this arrangement. She is entirely beholden to him. Where he goes, she's tagging along. And she's never quite worked out how to handle it, far less try and exert her not inconsiderable influence in sheer terms of numbers.

Mike Hosking. Photo / supplied
Mike Hosking. Photo / supplied

Helen Clark, of all people, should be supplying the antidote. Mathew Hooten is right, a snap poll is not a bad idea. It's beyond her comprehension and capabilities of course.

The least she might want to consider is waking the hell up to what's going on, the danger she's in, panicking slightly and drawing up a plan for when this goes pear-shaped, which it looks increasingly likely it will.