Winston Peters has indicated for the first time that NZ First is targeting two blue seats in next year’s general election.
NZ First leader Winston Peters says his party is eyeing up Whangarei and Whanganui in next year’s election – and is aiming to have all candidates confirmed by year end.
Speaking at the start of the party’s annual conference in Dunedin, Peters told media Whangarei was ripe for the taking because of National MP Shane Reti’s low profile.
“Shane can walk down the main street of Whangarei and eight out of 10 people don’t recognise him. Now that’s a fact.”
Peters, who captured Northland from National in a byelection in 2015 and has since put more campaigning focus on the regions, also named Whanganui as a possible target.
He said National MP Chester Borrows, who has held the seat since 2005, was a good MP but had been marginalised by his own party.
“Because common sense people with a bit of experience…are not popular in the new age, neoliberal National Party.”
There has been growing speculation that former Labour MP Shane Jones will leave the diplomatic corps and stand for NZ First in Whangarei.
It is an open secret that Shane Jones is hankering to be back in parliament, and also open that he is entertaining NZ First. That will pose a few problems. The first being in how to deal with NZ First’s Little Napolean, the former army motor pool supervisor and truck mechanic, Ron Mark. The second being actually beating Shane Reti in Whangarei. By all accounts, the former GP is highly liked and popular amongst locals. His majority is substantial too.
At the present rate in the polls NZ First may follow Winston’s own popularity over Andrew Little’s and supersede that of the Labour party. It is almost certain that they will be on a par with the Green party meaning any potential coalition to beat National would essentially be a true three-way deal with each component party on a par with the other. This, of course, makes any such deal almost impossible, but Labour supporters are used to believing in impossible dreams.
– Herald on SUnday