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NZ First Disorganised Personality Cult: Ex Members

NZ First a "disintegrating, disorganised personality cult," say former candidates

The release of the NZ First party list today does nothing to dispel the impression that the party is a "disintegrating, disorganised and divisive personality cult," say two former candidates, Rex Widerstrom and David Stevenson.

The pair challenged the party's 1996 list on the basis that it was highly unlikely that party members would have chosen a raft of newcomers over long-serving and high profile candidates.

The vast majority of candidates who stood for the party last time do not appear on this year's list, they pointed out. "Undoubtedly that's due in no small part to the rigging of the list as detailed in Michael Laws' book 'The Demon Profession'," Mr Stevenson said, "claims which were not denied by
New Zealand First when we brought legal proceedings."

Laws admitted in the book that he, Winston Peters and Mr Peters' secretary Sarah Neems ignored the list ranked by party members in 1996 and issued one that they had concocted.

They also note that 25 of the party's electorate candidates, all of whom are entitled to be ranked, don't appear on the list. "Is that indicative of the confidence existing candidates having in the process?" Mr Widerstrom asked.

"Looking at the latest effort, stalwart MPs such as Gilbert Myles and former party vice president and health spokesperson Jenny Bloxham are ranked surprisingly low, at 10 and 22 respectively," he noted, "and yet again people have emerged from absolute obscurity to be catapulted into the higher ra
nkings. While we have no way of knowing what was done with this list, I would not be surprised if some of the people disadvantaged by it don't start asking similar questions to those we asked in 1996."

Mr Stevenson, who stood for the party in Wellington Central in 1996, says the lack of a visible New Zealand First presence in such a high-profile electorate, combined with the last-minute issuing of the list, indicates a party is disarray. "It's a disintegrating, disorganised and divisive persona
lity cult," he says.

"The party is still heavily burdened by the debt that has plagued it for years. If National or Labour offer the lure of Ministerial salaries, that debt position will almost certainly ensure that promises to 'keep them honest' by sitting on the cross benches will have all the validity of that made
in the 1996 campaign - the one to 'stop National'," the pair say.


ends

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