New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has launched the party's election campaign by highlighting the inexperience of its coalition partner and the Greens.

"We have opposed woke pixie dust," he told party faithful at today's campaign launch and annual conference in Auckland.

"Whilst the rest have been politically correct, we've set out to correct politics. We've been an accelerator for good ideas and a handbrake for bad ones."

Peters said this election campaign would show how important NZ First was to the country.
He took aim at the lack of experience of both Labour and the Greens.


"Questions over competency or controversy have never been an issue for us."

Peters took credit for shutting down Labour's plan for light rail in Auckland "because sunlight and fiscal sense demanded it".

He also trashed the Greens' tax policy as "totally out of touch".

Peters called on Kiwis to use their vote to "take out some seriously necessary insurance".

NZ First's election campaign bus is back, with the slogan
NZ First's election campaign bus is back, with the slogan "Back your future". Photo / Jason Walls

That insurance will be against "big government" and more tax and against "extremism" from both sides of the political spectrum.

"We've used common sense to hold Labour and the Greens to account," he said.

"New Zealand First is the insurance voters need to avoid an ideological lurch in either direction."

Peters also took aim at the Greens.


"New Zealand First was alarmed to see the release of the Green Party tax policy."

He added: "The Green Party's tax programme is totally out of touch with the economic demands of the moment."

New immigration, law and order policy

Peters also unveiled part of NZ First's law and order policy.

"NZ First pledges that the next coalition government will set a new recruitment target; 1000 new frontline sworn officers over the next three years."

He also spoke of an "immigration reset" in his speech.

"The end of the [Covid-19] crisis is not yet in view but immigration policy needs a fundamental reset," he said.


"We are still in 2020 trying to deal with the problems of one of the fastest growing populations in the developed world - because of the unrestrained immigration of past governments."

He said that it was already apparent in 2017 that the scale of immigration posed huge economic distortions and costs.

Cast as coalition 'villain'

Peters said it was tough being the smaller party in a coalition - rarely sharing in the limelight of success "but never failing to be cast as the villain".

He highlighted policies that NZ First had blocked at the Cabinet table.

"How futile does a capital gains tax look right now? And on Auckland light rail and many others, we have stopped bad, uncosted ideas and called them to account," he said.

"New Zealand First shut down Auckland light rail because sunlight and fiscal sense demanded it."


He also took credit for NZ First policies that had got across the line.

For example, the SuperGold card; "backed by a proper website, by over 5000 committed businesses, and by an app – an app that already has more than 130,000 users".

Peters said when NZ First went with Labour in 2017 it "took many by surprise" as Labour had no experience in Government and there had been "nine long years" of neglect under National.

His speech comes after Children's Minister Tracey Martin announced the party's first election policy – the return of the universal family benefit.

New Zealand had a universal family benefit back in 1946; it replaced the means-tested system.

Martin wants to bring it back.


"Sometimes the old ideas are the best ideas," Martin said.

Subscribe to Premium

But Peters' announcement is expected to be the highlight of the two-day conference.

Speaking to the Herald on Friday, Peters said his speech would have a "highly persuasive narrative".

He also said he planned to reveal some of the "silly ideas" which he, and his NZ First Ministers, are taking credit for torpedoing at the cabinet table.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Peters took a swipe at both National and Labour.
He said the current state of the opposition was "breath taking".

"I've never seen such a cacophony of egos ... in my whole political career."


He was not holding back when it came to Labour – his coalition partners – either.

"None of my ministers have been screwing up – none of my ministers have had to be sacked," he told the Nation.

That appeared to be a pointed reference to Health Minister David Clark, who resigned a few weeks ago after months of pressure.

Peters and his team are keeping this afternoon's announcement close to their chests.

But Shane Jones – another senior NZ First minister – gave a hint of what might be to come.

After referencing the closure of Tiwai smelter in Southland, he said NZ First would not abandon those workers.


"If we're in power, it's time to buy the farm back."