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Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

'We're gaining across the board' - Peters

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters. Photo / New Zealand Herald Photograph / Richard Robinson
New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters. Photo / New Zealand Herald Photograph / Richard Robinson

NZ First, whose support has firmed according to the latest Herald DigiPoll is gaining votes from disillusioned voters across the spectrum, Leader Winston Peters says, despite the poll showing Labour's support slumping.

NZ First's support rose by a percentage point to 4.6 per cent - just below the key 5 per cent MMP threshold - in the month since the last Herald Digi-Poll.

Labour's support fell from 30.5 per cent in June, to a 15 year low of 26.5 per cent while National was up 4.5 points to 54.9 per cent.

However, despite the good news for his party, speaking to reporters at his party conference at Auckland's Alexandra Park, Mr Peters dismissed the result and political polls in general.

"Of course it's wrong. It in no way measures what's happening out there.

"We're not going to waste five seconds in this campaign talking about the polls.

We're going to create them."

Nevertheless, he agreed with the poll's finding that NZ First's support was firming up and said his party was taking votes from others across the board.

He did not believe NZ First was gaining at Labour's expense but nevertheless said former Labour cabinet minister Dover Samuel's comments last week that he was switching his party vote from Labour to NZ First was "not just a one off".

"There are a lot of people especially in the Maori world saying that."

Amongst Labour's woes today was a report that caucus members were unhappy that Leader David Cunliffe had taken several days off - including a ski trip - while the party is struggling to make headway with voters just nine weeks out from the election.

"I saw the quotes", Mr Peters said, "but I don't give any creedence to that until I see a name behind that".

However he appeared to be readying an appeal to voters who would traditionally support Labour with indications his speech this afternoon will focus on policies to address inequality.

After a speech to the conference yesterday from the Salvation Army's Major Campbell Roberts highlighting social inequality, 17 year old Dunedin student Jacobi Kohu-Morris speech this morning traversed similar territory.

Ahead of his speech this afternoon, Mr Peters said he would announce policies that "hit the core issues that New Zealanders are concerned about and we think it will turn this campaign upside down".

Speaking on TVNZ's Q+A programme today, Mr Peters said he still has not decided whether he will stand in an electorate for this year's election and if he does, has not decided which electorate that would be.

But he said a decision on both those issues would be made "very soon".

Mr Peters would not confirm any plans to run against Conservative Party leader Colin Craig in East Coast Bays and battered away a suggestion the two parties held similar policies.

Voters knew what his party stood for and any comparison with the Conservatives was "ridiculous", Mr Peters said.

"I'm here to talk about a great party, the strongest, longest surviving new party in this country's history.

"So you know let's concentrate on that rather than a mere bagatelle that's of no concern to anybody, and who the National Party has to prop up if they've got any chance of surviving," Mr Peters said.

One of the party's policies was to bring "balance" to the transport sector, by investing ion the country's rail network, he said.

"Rail has got an important future for this country. And if (we're) going to lower our carbon footprint, we need to be using far more insightful policies on that score, like in Christchurch, like in Auckland, like in Wellington, than we currently have."

The National Party had a "preoccupation" with roads of national significance, which left out the provinces, Mr Peters said.

"We want balance."

- additional reporting APNZ

- NZ Herald

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