Winston Peters giving evidence at the High Court at Auckland last November in his privacy case. Screenshot from 1 News.

New Zealand’s semi-official poet laureate Victor Billot pens topical verse every Sunday. Today: former politician Winston Peters.

Winston’s Grin

Mr Peters is fading. Has hung up his bat.

A century scoring pin striped old Cheshire Cat.

A smooth operator. Stature: concise.

Political strategy a game of rolling the dice.

You first had a go in 1975 –

Since then it’s all been about Stayin’ Alive.

You saw them come and you saw them go.

You swam with the current and battled the flow.

Late nights down on Courtenay. Court cases galore.

Brown paper bags. Wine boxes stacked on the floor.

You served (curiously) under both Ardern and Muldoon.

In foreign affairs your wink made Condoleezza swoon.

You went with the Tories. Then leftwards you swung.

You danced and weaved and jabbed and then stung.

We have to ask what was it all for?

Your philosophy. Your great political cause.

A wave of the flag. Populist rhetoric.

It kept you going for decades, this illusionists trick.

But they don’t get fussed about intellectual flights,

down at the Green Parrot, late of a night.

Not so good when you pointed the bone

at Asian Kiwis – you should have left that alone.

Half the population at one time probably voted for you!

(and woke up the next morning thinking what did I just do).

So, this isn’t goodbye. We won’t shut the door.

We’ve learned that lesson many times before.

But this might just be an opportune time

To step quietly away from that bright light of lime.

Victor Billot has previously been moved to write odes for such luminaries as Garrick Tremain, Todd Muller, David Clark, James Shaw, Jacinda Ardern and Jami-Lee Ross.

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