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Winston sticks to story of Collins’ post-election pitch

NZ First leader Winston Peters is emphatic he was approached earlier this year about the possibility of entering into post-election negotiations with Judith Collins instead of John Key.

“How would you make up this story?” he says.

Mr Peters says he’s not aware of the intermediary having a direct connection to Ms Collins but “they came with the instructions from a sitting MP who I know is a serious associate of Judith Collins.”

Ms Collins has denied Mr Peter’s claim.

“I’m not surprised by her denial,” says Mr Peters. “To use the famous words of Marilyn Rice-Davies about the Profumo affair, ‘She would say that, wouldn’t she?’”

Mr Peters bridles at the reference by an otherwise conciiatory Mr Key to the “shopping list” the NZ First leader would bring to post-election negotiations.

“How would he know that? The reality is we’re campaigning with 22 days to go and we’re focused on winning,” Mr Peters says. “You owe the public the next 22 days to evaluate what new and changed circumstances and policies emerge. That’s what the campaign’s about.”

Mr Peters rejects the suggestion he is now positioned as the post-election "kingmaker."

“I’m not,” he says. “No one goes into these negotiations on their own. The party works democratically and will act in a responsible manner, with the national interest of New Zealand and the need for stable government mind.

“It will be a decision we make together because no party lasts that does not keep the people in the party with it.”

Mr Peters says NZ First will enter post-election negotiations with “an open mind."

That said, there are two bottomlines that must be met for the party to enter into a governing or confidence and supply arrangement: a programme for buying back state assets and stopping the sale of land to foreign interests.

Of the latter, Mr Peters says that “the Lochinver deal cannot possibly stack up for the Overseas Investment Office if it’s doing its job properly” and queries the role of Landcorp in “facilitating and advising and consulting in this OIO application – something that’s against the wishes of the New Zealand people as expressed strongly in a referendum.”

“We’re going to stop that sort of behaviour,” Mr Peters says, promising to have a “serious look” at the agency.

“The last time they had a serious look was when I was a minister and I knocked back a stack of transactions and made them do their job properly. In the seven years before, they’d rubber stamped every single deal,” he says. “Now they’re back doing it – every three days in the past three years they’ve rubberstamped another transaction.”

Asked about Conservative Party leader Colin Craig’s constant taunts about Mr Peters avoiding debating him, the NZ First leader snorts:  “I’ve done six debates with him and wiped the floor with him.”

Mr Peters says he’s not interested in a one-on-one debate with Mr Craig because “I’m not going to have a duel of wits with an unarmed man.”

What do you think? Do you believe a Judith Collins intermediary approached Winston Peters about negotiating with her post-election? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

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Comments and questions

Now "Judith Collins" has called Mr Peters "a liar" I guess the ball is now in Mr Peters court? Isn't it?

Is it? Really?

Wakey wakey everyone - isn't there a common theme here recently - Judith Collins

Why would Winnie want to stuff up the relationship with key / Nat
Now ? seems a bit odd and IL considered ....

He's playing this card to get more media time, cause some fear and uncertainty amongst the marginal National voters and potentially move his percentage up.

All so he's got more leverage post election.

All so blindingly obvious. Just wish the media grew a pair and ignored his sideshow antics. It's a disgrace and he's laughing all the way to the bar.

Only if you think there is a serous future for Judith Collins post election.

There is nothing that can stuff up the relationship if the Nats need his numbers, so that's not an issue. What he is trying to is ensure the Nats can't govern alone, and need him to form a government. He therefore wants to slightly take them down in the polls, but not too far. That will give him maximum negotiating power to extract the greatest possible price from Labour/National after the election (which he can only do that is he holds the balance of power).

However if he doesn't watch it he will swing too much the other way and there won't be a right wing option that is even mathematically possible! That would leave him out in the cold, with no power at all.

Anything that comes out of this "should have retired gracefully" old stick should be taken with a grain of salt . Perhaps he should consult with his "friends in China " ?

If Winston's still got the 'NO' card, perhaps Judith cold borrow it.

Sounds like a "Huka Lodge for sale to the Chinese" level of truthiness.

From the man who brought you 'NO' and the sale of Huka Lodge to (dread, horror, end of the world ...) the Chinese?

Winston Don Quixote Peters playing his game with his selfish, greedy, xenophobic, racist and increasingly senile voter base.

Take a bow winston
Still the master.

Master of what - of his senile and xenophobic voter base whose trust he so superbly abuse?

Beyond them, he is a person of no mana and is a figure of ridicule. A bit like sewage - it's there and needs to be treated as such and managed.

By your measure, Bernie Madoff should also take a bow. He was also a master of deception to his loyal and naive client base.

C'mon Winston, where are you? Or as judith Collins (and Owen Glenn) claim, you really are a "liar" and "cannot be trusted"?????

Mandy Rice-Davies, not Marilyn. Perhaps Mr Peters is getting her confused with Mandy Waring. Or Judith Durham.

"“How would you make up this story?” he says." Obviously he has been reading too much of Nicky Hager's book and using his methods for making stuff up.

Fact 1 - Bumped into a man at a party once.
Fact 2 - Everyone is trying to take down john Key.

Conjecture - it must have been one of Judith Collins lackeys trying to take John Key down

The way the media latch on to this is just so pathetic. Peters makes the claim. Collins says he's lying. That's a serious allegation. Tell us who told you (you've said you know them) and put it to bed. He won't cos he just made it up knowing the media would simply come has way affording more screen time.

Maybe it was Shearer's Mr. Roofus Paynter he bumped into whilst they were both looking for a GCSB tape?

How would you make up this story?

I guess spending a few nights drinking with equally unreliable sources would be a good start.

Interestingly, Winston has said he would sign an affidavit to the fact.

Wonder if Collins would?

Of course he would. But he would never produce the so-called intermediary to defend himself. That would destroy his story in a flash of ignomy.

The indigestible meets the unspeakable? Or did they?

In the event of a centre-right election victory, anyone care to speculate how long it'll be before Chris Finlayson gets promoted to Justice Minister?

One thing is certain - it won't be Collins.

Ye gods! Did I say 'before' the election yesterday? My, the former Justice Minister puts one in mind of Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk, doesn't she (albeit without the infidelity...)