New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the health of New Zealanders should come before politics and, if that means the upcoming election has to be delayed, "so be it".

But in a statement, Peters – who suspended his party's campaign on Tuesday night – said the final decision in regards to pushing the election back was for another day.

"Today we need our team of five million mobilised once more to play their part so New Zealand can recover its previous health position."

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It is a case of "health first, politics second", Peters said.

During the level 4 lockdown, Peters had called for the election to be delayed until November.

He said parts of the country looked increasingly likely to be living under varying kinds of lockdown when the General Election rolls around on September 19.

Auckland entered its first full day of its second level 3 lockdown today, after community transmission was discovered on Tuesday.

Cabinet will meet tomorrow to decide whether that lockdown needs to be extended beyond midnight Friday.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pushed back the dissolution of Parliament until Monday – giving her more time to decide if the election should be delayed.

"My view is we will have time to deal with that date once we have a bit more information."

She will be making a decision on if the date will be moved before Monday.


National leader Judith Collins yesterday called on the Government to delay the election until at least November.

But it was National's preference for Ardern to recall Parliament and – by a "supermajority" – have the election pushed back until next year.

Judith Collins during a National Party press conference at Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Judith Collins during a National Party press conference at Parliament. Photo / Mark Mitchell

"It is simply unsuitable to expect there to be a fair and just election at a time when the opposition parties and other parties in Government are not free to campaign."

Yesterday, Peters would not give his view as to whether or not the election should be delayed.

He would only say that it had to be made a decision made across the political divide with all parties, so it's "far and reasonable".

The NZ First leader was a little more forthcoming in his statement this morning.


"At this difficult time our concern must be focused on the health of our team of five million. That team includes all politicians and their parties," he said.

"When we have the information we need to better understand our health challenge then we can address the timing of the election."

He added that the General Election, and the campaign that proceeds it, needs to be free and fair for all concerned – "parties, candidates, officials, and most of all voters".

"If that means delay then so be it."