Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says she has no regrets about saying New Zealand First had a "very racist" approach to immigration.

Turei said she stood by her criticism and would say it again, despite sparking an angry response from NZ First leader and potential coalition partner Winston Peters.

"People keep saying to me to be nice to New Zealand First," she told the Herald ahead of the party's annual conference in Auckland this weekend.

"I would like them to be nicer and more compassionate to the migrant community. And I don't think that's a big ask."

The week leading up to the conference has been a difficult one for the Greens.

Following Turei's speech, Peters warned of "consequences" for the Greens in any coalition talks.

Green MP Barry Coates then made an embarrassing gaffe by saying his caucus had been discussing whether it would refuse to accept a Labour-NZ First coalition and possibly even try to force a second election if this occurred.

"Barry spoke out of turn, I did not," Turei said.

"I spoke on behalf of the party and when we say we can work with NZ First - that's true."

The two parties had many policies in common, she said, including their education, manufacturing, public transport, and innovation proposals.


"Even in immigration we have some things in common. They want to stop the exploitation of migrants.

"But unfortunately they also want to strengthen the English language test to preference Western, English-speaking countries, which I think is wrong.

"We will still find policies in common, or not, with any political party."

While she was not backing away from her criticism of NZ First, she was unlikely to repeat it this weekend at the party's showcase event for the year. The message had already been sent "loud and clear", Turei said.

The AGM would be "all about the campaign and how great we're doing". Ambitious fundraising targets had been met and the ground campaign was well underway.

There will be two policy announcements at the conference, including one on ending poverty, which Turei called "one of the most important policies I've ever spoken about". The details will be released on Sunday.

One of the guest speakers is Zack Exely, an American political consultant who worked on Bernie Sanders' US presidential campaign last year.

Turei said she hoped Exely would show how the Sanders campaign built an enormous grassroots campaign which nearly caused an upset in the Democratic Party primaries. The Greens had adopted a similar approach for their own campaign by placing emphasis on direct contact with voters and smart use of social media.

"People are convinced by people, not just by ideas," Turei said. "Every person who supports the Greens, who wants us to be in Government, needs to be out talking to the people they know and love.

"What we have learned with the Bernie Sanders campaign and the [UK Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn campaign is that it is possible for people to build really strong grassroots movements for political change.

"What the Greens have that Sanders and Corbyn don't have is proportional representation and a real chance of being in Government."

New Zealand First's AGM is also this weekend, across town in South Auckland.

Peters this week continued his tour of the regions, visiting Napier, Tauranga Taupo and Thames.