New Zealand First's leader Winston Peters is claiming the "seeds of apartheid" are being scattered through New Zealand legislation in his address to voters ahead of next year's election.
It comes alongside confirmation that if his party re-enters government, Peters would invest billions of dollars into health and education, but he hasn't stated exactly how he'll pay for it.
While his speech to roughly 250 people gathered at Christchurch's Rydges Latimer Hotel didn't contain many specific policies, Peters did announce he would ban gang patches in public spaces and "reset" the immigration department.
"Co-governance, separatism, and the seeds of apartheid are being scattered throughout all of our laws and institutions," Peters declared to his audience today.
"[The Government's] basis is malignant paternalism arising from paternalism and inverse racism."
Peters' example of flawed co-governance was what he considered an excessive representation of Māori on Three Waters boards in comparison to locally elected members.
Earlier today, party delegates voted to remove the word "apartheid" from a remit concerning NZ First's "cornerstone policy stance" on co-governance ideology because members felt the comparison to South Africa's apartheid regime wasn't fitting.
Asked why he diverged from the party on the matter, Peters told media after his speech that the decision to remove the word could have been different with his input.
"I wasn't at that debate and perhaps it would have been changed if I had been, but they're entitled to [their opinions]."
On Three Waters reform, Peters described the plan as "retarded theft".
"What's going on in this country is straight-out racism and I'm against it and so are my colleagues."
Peters boldly promised billions in education and health funding.
He bemoaned current school attendance rates which he claimed had reached as low as 35 per cent in some areas.
"If 65 per cent aren't at certain schools, that's 65 per cent of taxpayer's money, and young student's lives going to waste.
"We know that we must spend billions more on education if we are to get back in front of the first world."
Peters didn't delve into health to any great extent but did ask those in the crowd if they had "had enough of our broken health system which needs billions more".
Asked how much was needed exactly, Peters said he had "people working on it" but referenced the waste he saw in the economy as a source.
"If you spend money based on long-term wealth creation and productivity, then the level of debt is not at the concern it will be if you are spending it on consumption, that's the massive difference between us and the rest."
Act Party leader David Seymour released a statement soon after Peters' speech, calling the 77-year-old leader "Winnie-the-wasted-vote" over his delayed pitch to overturn Labour/National's housing density laws which delegates voted and approved today.
Peters dismissed Seymour's comments and denied any concern Act could eat into NZ First's voter base.
"Mr Seymour, I know you're nervous, I quite understand your condition," Peters said in a message to his political opponent.
Immigration formed a bulk of Peters' speech, who said the country had pursued an "unfocused, unparalleled, incoherent" immigration policy from the late 1990s to 2017.
"Anyone who questioned these thoughtless policies was immediately cast as racist, xenophobic, or anti-immigrant," he said.
Peters called for an "immediate reset" of the immigration department so people essential to New Zealand's economy could be encouraged to enter the country.
"Bring people to New Zealand who we need, not who need us."
He felt conversations on tax should include maximising added value to exports so the "lion's share" of their value returned to New Zealand.
Peters also advocated for "incentivising IT (information technology) in industry, production, innovation, creativity, technology adoption, and international connectivity".
On crime, Peters called for more accountability for youth offenders amid spikes of violent crime in areas including Auckland and Waikato.
"For every thug who gets away with a crime, there are many who stand a little taller, strengthening the brotherhood of criminals who set out each day to destroy our society.
"Now no one is calling for vigilante action, but, as a nation, we each have a responsibility to stand up, say enough's enough."
His comments preceded his commitment to ban gang patches in public places, a policy the National Party announced in June.