New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today named a baby duck as deputy leader of the party.
The appointment of Quacky Quackerson as deputy signals a change in direction for the party, which has in the past chosen its deputy from within caucus.
Quackerson is not a member of the party’s caucus, and is ineligible to stand for Parliament, because he is a duck.
But Peters insisted that having a deputy leader outside Parliament would not harm the party’s credibility.
“It was a tough decision, but it was the right decision,” said Peters this morning.
“This should not be seen as taking away from the very fine achievements of caucus members like Asenati Taylor, Andrew Williams and Richard Prosser, who have so delighted and entertained during their time in Parliament.
“But people like baby ducks. They do not like Asenati Taylor or Andrew Williams.
“Ducklings are cute and cuddly. Richard Prosser is neither of these things. Nor are Denis O’Rourke, Tracey Martin or Barbara Stewart.”
Peters said the party needed to attract younger members. He is hopeful that the appointment of a two-week-old duckling as deputy leader will signal that New Zealand First is serious about recruiting for the future.
He said he would have preferred to appoint an actual young person to the role, but that had proved impossible.
“Our mostly-elderly party members don’t tend to like young people very much,” said Peters. “But they are generally fond of animals.”
Peters also blamed the media for spreading rumours that Quackerson’s breed was an Asian one.
“That’s an outrageous lie, and you know it!” Peters told reporters. “How about telling the people of New Zealand the truth for once?
“We’re here for the long-haul,” Peters continued. “In the months ahead you will see some changes in the leadership of our party at just about every level.
“Don’t worry, I’m not about to retire just yet. But I won’t be here forever, nor will many of the people currently in charge of our party organisation.
“Mr Quackerson has a number of brothers and sisters, all of them as cute as a button. I have no doubt that any one of them could handle the role of party president or secretary without any difficulty.”
Quacky Quackerson has fronted the media for the first time as deputy, and has answered questions about his appointment.
“Quack quack quack,” said Quackerson, in response to questions about his fitness to deputise for the party leader.
“Quack quack quack quack quack!”
He then ate some bugs and worms and a scrap of bread, defecated on the floor, and waddled off.