Lloyd Burr analysis: Winston Peters' March 15 tweet makes him look like sour grudge-holder using NZ's darkest day to score pointless political points

Winston Peters' latest outburst about Jacinda Ardern is insulting.
Winston Peters' latest outburst about Jacinda Ardern is insulting. Photo credit: Getty Images.

ANALYSIS: Winston Peters' latest outburst about Jacinda Ardern is insulting.   

It's not just insulting to Ardern, but it's insulting to all the victims and their families. It's insulting to the first responders. But it's also insulting to his own intelligence.   

The former Deputy Prime Minister is inferring Jacinda Ardern knew about the March 15 terror attack before it happened and intentionally withheld it from him.   

His initial tweet made it sound like he'd only just found out about it, four years and seven months later.  

At a press conference on March 16 – the day after the attack – Ardern said her office was sent a copy of the terrorist's manifesto moments before the terror attack happened.   

Her office sent it to Parliament Security, who rang 111. The transcript of that phone call was released for the first time on Wednesday at the coronial inquest, which prompted Peters' claim.   

How on earth did he not know? Was he just not listening? Did he not read the numerous stories about it? Did he not watch it on the news? The global news?   

He was also Foreign Minister at the time and his office would have received media monitoring reports, and other briefings – especially given he flew to Turkey a week afterwards to confront President Erdogan who was using the terrorist's footage in his election campaign.    

If all of Cabinet also missed Ardern's revelation on March 16, where is the collective Cabinet outrage? None of them have hit the roof on social media.   

But after a pile on of replies on X (formerly Twitter) with proof it was public knowledge on March 16, Peters defensively clarified he knew about it the day after but was furious his office wasn't told about it on the day.    

He talks of a transcript of a phone call from Ardern to him "at a vital time when a terrorist had just massacred innocent people".   

Peters is assuming Ardern knew about the email at the time. The Prime Minister doesn't monitor their own email inbox – they have an office to do it given the sheer number of emails, particularly bizarre and abusive ones.   

So it's perfectly realistic that Ardern didn't know about it at the time of her call to Peters.   

It also begs the question – what difference would it have made if she did know? She was in the middle of managing an acute terror crisis with dozens of casualties and was doing what she could control, not focusing on what she couldn't.   

It's selfish of Peters to put himself at the centre of the immediate aftermath, when it rightly was focused on the 51 people killed, 40 injured, hundreds traumatised, and first responders who stopped the terrorist from continuing.   

In other words, there was a lot going on.   

It's also selfish of him to try and whip up conspiracies about keeping him in the dark while the victims, families and community is reliving trauma through the opening of the coronial inquiry.    

At a time when Winston Peters is trying to be the statesman and Deputy-Prime-Minister-in-waiting, he's looking like a sour grudge-holder who's using New Zealand's darkest day to score pointless political points.   

Lloyd Burr is a Newshub political reporter.