New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was firing shots across the bow at both major political parties at his party's annual conference yesterday.
Although keen to relay to his supporters, and the media, that NZ First was campaigning to be a "sound voice for logic and common sense", he could not resist taking a jab at both Labour and National.
He lambasted National for not costing the four-lane expressway from Whangārei to Tauranga, saying it was "breathtaking stuff".
"Who do they think they're fooling?"
And, despite the fact that National has ruled out forming a coalition with NZ First after the election, Peters said the party's new leader, Judith Collins, will be picking up the phone to call him on election night nonetheless.
"You've got to bite the bullet sometimes – if you don't want to do that, then get out of this business."
And Peters was pulling no punches when it came to his coalition partners – Labour – either.
"None of my ministers have been screwing up – none of my ministers have had to be sacked," he told the Nation.
This appears to be a pointed reference to Health Minister David Clark who resigned a few weeks ago after months of pressure.
Peters said the current state of politics in New Zealand is "unbelievable".
"There has been chaos everywhere."
Meanwhile, he's talking up his own party as a "picture of stability across the divide of the old parties".
His comments come ahead of today's keynote speech at the party's two-day annual conference in East Auckland.
Yesterday was largely procedural – with party members voting on various remits.
But Peters is today expected to announce the party's first election policy – it is understood to be an economic, post-Covid package.
It is also understood that Peters is going to make it clear that a Government made up of Labour and the Greens would be inexperienced.
That will come in the form of a "call to action".
He will also unveil some details about what to expect from NZ First on the campaign trail.
He did, however, hint that the campaign was about the "very economic survival" of this country.
"Every decision we make from here on in will require something called experience – serious experience."
Peters did not attend the afternoon session of the conference yesterday.
He is still recovering after food poisoning – he revealed yesterday he was on sick leave for a week or so after eating some raw meat up north he thought was cooked.
Meanwhile, Peters also made the rare move of detailing conversations he had with the Labour Party during the 2017 coalition talks.
He said during the first meeting of the two parties, NZ First was offered seven positions in Cabinet – the party has nine MPs.
But Peters said he turned down this offer – "Did they think they could buy us off with seven Cabinet posts?"
NZ First ended up with four ministers.
Both Labour and National have been silent on what happened in those talks three years ago, despite being asked many times.
Peters has been reluctant to talk about it in the past as well – but sometimes provides details when asked by media.
Speaking to the Herald on Friday, he said deciding between Labour and National was "an awfully difficult decision".
He said on the one hand, NZ First was talking to a party with "so little political experience", in terms of Labour, while National had been in Government for nine years.
Looking ahead to after September 19, if his party is in a position to negotiate a coalition again, Peters said he would be "keeping an open mind".
At the end of the day, Peters said his focus would be on creating a "stable Government".