John Armstrong is the Herald's chief political commentator

United Future president: 'NZ media is a zoo'

Peter Dunne speaking to media in August. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Peter Dunne speaking to media in August. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The president of the United Future party has likened the New Zealand media to a pack of hyenas.

Speaking at the party's annual conference in Wellington this weekend, Robin Gunston said when the "chips were down" and United Future has been deregistered by the Electoral Commission, the media "was a zoo".

Yet when the party's registration had been restored, "the hyenas had gone to pick over another beast".

"I think it is sad that everything has to be about the instant," he told the 30 or so party members and supporters gathered in an upstairs room at the Johnsonville Community Centre.

In his speech, party leader Peter Dunne said the United Future flame was still flickering despite a year which he hoped he would never have to repeat.

Mr Dunne was forced to resign after refusing to co-operate fully with the Henry inquiry into leaking of the Kitteridge report on the GCSB. He was embarrassed by revelations surrounding his email and phone exchanges with press gallery journalist, Andrea Vance.

United Future also missed out on parliamentary funding as a result of its temporary deregistraton.

Mr Dunne said the outpouring of support and encouragement during his party's darkest days was one of his most uplifting and humbling experiences in politics.

The party, whose membership was now in the four figures, would remain faithful to its founding principle of not being strait-jacketed by ideology and instead finding the best solutions to make New Zealand a better place to live.

Mr Dunne also effectively ruled out his party striking deal with Labour after next year's election, saying that party would have to abandon any tax increases it had planned, including a capital gains tax. He did not see that as likely to happen.

- NZ Herald

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