Party conferences afford NZ First leader Winston Peters the rare opportunity to shed his ministerial hats and revert to what he knows best: pugilistic defiance.

So it was that his party's conference in Christchurch delivered up two Winstons – Winston Unleashed, and Winston the Statesman.

Day One delivered Winston Unleashed.

In his brief opening speech, it was little surprise the targets of his attacks were those he had long deemed as his enemies: the media and National.

NZ First leader Winston Peters has met angry gun-owning protestors outside his party’s convention. Video / Boris Jancic

Winston's attacks are such a time-worn technique they barely deserve commenting on.

But Peters had to show his base he was still what