The National Party worker who alleges Clutha-Southland MP illegally recorded her was in the audience for NZ First leader Winston Peter’s rally in Gore yesterday.
NZ First’s Clutha-Southland candidate, Mark Patterson, told POLITIK last night that Glenys Dickson, Barclay’s former electorate agent, was one of around 150 who turned out to hear Peters as part of his “Regions Tour”.
Patterson knows Dickson from his own days in the National party.
Though it has been suggested she had switched her allegiance from National to NZ First she has never confirmed that.
However she told Stuff that she was undecided about any future she might have with the National Party.
Patterson says Peters struck a chord with locals in the wool growing electorate with his claim that Parliament was being re-carpeted with synthetic carpet.
Peters said NZ First would stop synthetic carpets being installed in government funded buildings by specifying natural fibre carpets like wool and the use of wool insulation.
“NZ First will swing government procurement in behind natural, renewable and sustainable wool and natural fibres, both as floor coverings and as a material of choice for insulation,” he said.
Peters said that since 2011, the Ministry of Social Development purchased no woollen carpets but thousands of square metres of synthetics.
Patterson, a sheep farmer, said he was mildly outraged by the decision “particularly with the wool market in the dire straits it is.”
“You’d expect we would be trying to showcase wool in our Parliament buildings.”
Peters “Regions Tour” has been barnstorming through the South Island looking to all intents and purposes like it’s the last week of the election campaign.
And with its constant anti-National rhetoric it is clear Peters is now trying to mop up Labour voters in the provinces.
This week he and Labour Leader Andrew Little will cross paths with Little and his deputy, Jacinda Arndern scheduled for Timaru and Oamaru on Wednesday and Thursday.
Meanwhile, Peters and his bus will head up the South Island so he can be in Auckland next weekend for his party’s convention.
Yesterday he was strong on rural issues.
In Balclutha, he said ratepayers there had to pay for the third longest road network in New Zealand.
“Roads are taking a pounding from heavy trucks, but you receive little support from central government,” he said referring to the increase in truck traffic caused by dairy conversions.
Some of that GST money would be used for roads as well as tourism infrastructure and to stimulate job training and opportunities.
His speeches continued his campaign against the Chinese ownership of Silver Fern Farms, and he called for the retention of the Telford Farm Training Institute and more added value in dairy.
All this goes over the heads of the urban-based media where the issue yesterday was claims by Greens- Co-leader that NZ First was racist.
Greens Co_Leader Metiria Turei, told TVOne’s “Q+A” that Peters was on a roll at the moment.
“He is on a roll at the moment which is I think a very racist approach to immigration, for example,” she said.
“The worst of his rhetoric is coming out. “
Peters’ response at the Balclutha meeting was typically forthright.
“My warning to the Greens is don’t call New Zealand First racist – an allegation that is spurious – and think there won’t be consequences.”
At the moment, NZFirst more or less has the running in Clutha-Southland to itself with National not closing its nominations to replace Barclay until Tuesday, July 18 with the election not taking place until possibly August.
Peters will be hoping that he gets the same response from the electorate he got from Northland when National took a while to select its candidate.
Petterson says the response has been good.
“We’re getting some people coming on board to help out which is good,” he said.