Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters took digs at Simon Bridges, Ihumātao protesters and the media among others while speaking at a public meeting in Tauranga tonight.

The event at the Tauranga Yacht Club is being hosted by Clayton Mitchell, NZ First MP based in Tauranga.

The New Zealand First leader spoke on a number of topics, including the economy, the Ihumātao protests, and the Oranga Tamariki uplifts.

Peters said the New Zealand economy was performing well, despite economists claiming otherwise, pointing to the 3.9 per cent unemployment rate, an 11-year low.


He said the latest growth figures showed that New Zealand was outperforming Australia, the United Kingdom and Japan.

He said the Government had an improved surplus and planned to have a balanced investment in transport, meaning regional roads got a better deal out of the current Government.

He took aim at the Opposition's cancer drug funding and cancer agency announcement, saying it was a backpedal on the party's previous scorn of establishing an agency.

He pointed to the previous minister of health Jonathan Coleman's comments that it was "not the government's job to choose which medicines get funded", yet National Party leader Simon Bridges proposed for cancer drug funding recently.

He reminded the audience of former finance minister Steven Joyce's comments around it being a waste of money to create a new agency that "wouldn't solve anything" and the former National Party leader Bill English who said "creating another bureaucracy is not going to create more cancer treatment"

On the Ihumātao protests, he said the "unlawful occupation" was built on misinformation and most protesters were not mana whenua.

He said it had been sensationalised in the media, shooting down claims it was this generation's "Bastion Point moment" and saying divisions within Māoridom over the issue had been glossed over.

He said the Māori Land Court, Environment Court, the United Nations, and the Heritage New Zealand have rejected the claims about the archaeological significance of the site.


"Their claims, at every turn, have failed."

Peters said the Oranga Tamariki uplifts rhetoric was ill-informed and there should be no apologies when it uplifted a child from an abusive or dangerous environment.

He said the Government had dedicated $1 billion to Oranga Tamariki in Budget 2019.

He said the Marine and Coastal Area Act, implemented by the National Party, had opened the way for iwi to fight among themselves for the same coastline.

"Some iwi have lodged claims where they have, in a Māori sense, no rights at all".

He said National's legislation had emboldened some iwi members to attack people who were using Tahāroa, near the entrance to Kāwhia Harbour in Waikato.