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Winston Peters on potential National coalition if Bridges is rolled

The Country,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 May 2020, 2:51PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)

Winston Peters on potential National coalition if Bridges is rolled

The Country,
Publish Date
Wed, 20 May 2020, 2:51PM

Winston Peters has said he won't be playing third fiddle in a potential coalition with a Bridges-less National Party.

Simon Bridges is forcing a leadership vote at National's next Caucus, and it is understood Todd Muller and Nikki Kaye want to push him, and deputy Paula Bennett, off their perches.

The New Zealand First leader and deputy Prime Minister told The Country, if he went with National, he wouldn't accept a job as Treasurer.

"Your in dreamtime if you think that sort of scenario is going to be laid, when any coalition would have the party's first two people having the first two jobs." 

He said that he would want the job he currently has of deputy Prime Minister. 

Peters has not ruled out a potential coalition, simply saying that people should avoid saying "never say never" when it comes to politics. 

He says that accidentally calling his deputy leader "Paula Benefit" is the least of Bridges' worries says Winston Peters.

Bridges was speaking to Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking, when he made the on-air gaffe.

"That is a slip of the tongue and the problem is when something is humorous like that ... you're likely to repeat it because of that comical nature, so I don't blame him for that" Peters told The Country's Jamie Mackay.

While Peters was willing to let Bridges' slip-up slide, he was less forgiving about the National Party Leader in general.

"Simon's problem ... is that Simon's just not authentic. He's bombastic. He doesn't speak to people - he speaks at people. And he's not strategic in his thinking".

One example of Bridges non-strategic thinking was supposedly writing off NZ First as a coalition partner, said Peters.

"You don't go and rule out someone who's been around for the length of time that New Zealand First has been. Where we have held the balance of power in so many cases - or just missed out by one or two seats in all the other times - you don't go and make a stupid statement like that".

The National Party was facing a leadership challenge now, but it wouldn't be an easy road once the dust had settled, said Peters.

"How are they going to construct the kind of strategic policy that's needed for a party like them, coming into the election on the ... 19th of September?"

"Because the reality is there's only one way back now and it's hard work, smart thinking and it's exports and added value".

There was only one way to get New Zealand up and running and Peters had it summed up in one four-letter word.

"The four letters are w-o-r-k that in fact are going to bring us back to economic success. We've got all the capacity, we've got opportunity, we've got some advantages, but there's no short cuts now".

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