'We are not a cling-on party' - Peters slams PM, 'sordid cronyism'

By NZ Herald staff

Winston Peters. Photo / Herald on Sunday
Winston Peters. Photo / Herald on Sunday

Winston Peters is staying mum on where he will stand in the upcoming General Election, but says a decision will be made "shortly".

The New Zealand First leader yesterday delivered a speech at the party's annual convention at Auckland's Alexander Park, criticising the National Party's deals with Act and United Future to secure the marginal Epsom and Ohariu-Belmont seats for National's potential coalition partners.

However Peters would not reveal to TV3's Firstline where he would be standing in November's election.

New Zealand First is polling around 2 per cent of the party vote - well short of the 5 per cent threshold needed to be entitled to seats in Parliament. In 2008, Peters lost the Tauranga seat to National's Simon Bridges and it is likely he would need to win an electorate to see the party return to Parliament.

Peters said the party's board will decide "shortly" where he will stand.

"We are not a cling-on party, we do not deals behind the public's back. We'll decide after the election when the public first decide, which is after all the essence of democracy.

"The board will decide very shortly what Winston Peters will do in this campaign. I will certainly be campaigning across the country, but a decision as to where will be made by the board based on the party's plan and strategy."

Peters said the party did not want to engage in the "sordid cronyism" the National and Act parties' are involved in.

He would not confirm reports he would stand in Helensville so as to go "toe to toe" with Prime Minister John Key.

"We are going toe to toe with the Prime Minister across the country in more meetings than he's ever held in the next three months," Peters responded.

He said Key has not provided a vision for the country, offered hope to young people, or halted foreign ownership of assets.

He also promised to repeal the so called "anti-smacking" legislation, which he said had not resulted in a decrease in violence towards children.

Peters said the legislation "attacks good parents" and needs to be replaced with "laws to attack brutalizing parents".

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