Boxer Joseph Parker was the surprise speaker at New Zealand First's annual convention in Tauranga today. What probably made it more surprising is that he is the nephew of National MP Judith Collins.

Parker played down any conflict though, saying he supported everyone.

"I feel like my aunty knows where my heart is. It's just about going about there and saying something that we hope can inspire and motivate others and help others."

Parker said he had a close relationship with Peters.


"He's been to a lot of the fights and he's always ringside and he always shows his support for me so the invitation was there and we wanted to show our support and come down here and meet everyone."

He drew a lot of laughs with his easy manner from the more than 200 people gathered at Tauranga Racecourse for NZ First's convention and annual general meeting during a Q&A with NZ First's Clayton Mitchell.

Most of the morning was taken up with closed-door discussions on party business and political strategy.

Leader Winston Peters, who as acting Prime Minister until Jacinda Ardern returns from New York was in a buoyant mood.

He had reason to be. The convention is being held at the leafy Tauranga Racecourse; the weather played ball, and he is surrounded by adoring MPs and party faithful.

NZ First is also celebrating its 25th anniversary, and almost a year in coalition Government.

Among the glossy booklets handed out to attendees is a 'New Zealand First Coalition Tracker', a progress report on the initiatives the party has achieved or are in progress, or yet to be dealt with.

It counts 20 as completed, 13 as works in progress, and just two as not yet begun. Those are significant investment in regional rail and the use of aquaculture in growing regional economic development.


The convention is being held over two days.

Champion boxer Joseph Parker arrives for 4-day Whanganui visit. Video Stuart munro