Winston Peters: Gone but never forgotten

By Patrick Gower

Winston Peters, gone but gracious with it.

There was no Houdini act, but there were no attacks, no vitriol and no recriminations either.

There was just a seemingly relieved Mr Peters.

He began his concession speech by praising the "bright young guy", National's Simon Bridges that has kept him out of the Tauranga seat.

And then he praised the system that saw his NZ First party fall under the 5 per cent threshold, saying "this is about democracy and people's views".

Mr Peters indicated that he would be back.

"You can't win every night in this game. However, its not over yet. We'll reorganise ourselves in the next few months. And we'll see what 2011 might hold for all us."

He ended his speech with a god bless to the room, then added a post-script for the media: "And by the way, that's my last word to all of you."

Mr Peters then zig-zagged about the Washington room at Tauranga's Armitage hotel, thanking some of 100 NZ First loyalists who backed him despite being cocooned by television cameras and photographers.

Mr Peters hugged his son Joel and even had time for a quick dance with a supporter.

His lawyer and "blood-brother" Brian Henry waited outside, as did partner Jan Trotman.

He then left the Washington room and gave his only interview to reporter Alaaf Alim Ishaq, of Auckland community station Radio Tarana.

Mr Peters, his loved ones, friends and advisers retreated to room 222 at the Hermitage.

A non-smoking room, the smell of Mr Peters' first cigarette without being the member for anywhere in 30 years, could soon be smelt from under the door.

- NZ Herald

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