An Untrustworthy Entertainer: Populist Identities in the Voices of New Zealand Voters

  • Jay M. WoodhamsEmail author


New Zealand, like many other democratic countries, has a long history of populist politicians. In the current political scene, Winston Peters and his New Zealand First Party represent the clearest examples of populism (Gustafson, 2006). Drawing on a set of recorded interviews with Wellington voters, Woodhams examines the ways in which Peters’ claims to a populist identity are negotiated in interaction (Gee, 2000). Analysis identifies a division between younger and older voters: younger participants tend to prioritise Peters’ entertaining qualities, whereas the older foreground his political experience, unpredictability and untrustworthiness. All participants engage in different ways with Peters’ identities, indicating the mixed success of populist strategies in this context and demonstrating the importance of listening to the voices of the people in the study of populist discourse.


Discourse Populism Identity Politics New Zealand 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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