Key not worried by Peters' challenge in Helensville
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters' intention to stand in Helensville is a stunt to get media coverage, its MP and Prime Minister John Key says. Mr Peters has hit the campaign trail early, holding a series of speeches around the country. Last we
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters' intention to stand in Helensville is a stunt to get media coverage, its MP and Prime Minister John Key says.
Mr Peters has hit the campaign trail early, holding a series of speeches around the country. Last week he told a Victoria University audience he was settled in Auckland and re-affirmed he wouldn't stand for next year's election in his old Tauranga seat but said Helensville was a possibility.
New Zealand First is not represented in Parliament after failing to win any seats in 2008 or secure the minimum 5% of the party vote.
Mr Key won Helensville in 2005 and then again in 2008 with a majority of more than 20,000. He was not concerned about competition from Mr Peters.
"I don't care, there will be plenty of other people that put their hand up as well. I am not in the slightest bothered about it," he told Newstalk ZB.
"Whether he will ultimately run in Helensville who knows and, frankly, from my perspective, who cares? He may or may not but these are all things just to try and get his profile up because he knows he's about 2%."
He doubted New Zealand First would reach the 5% threshold.
However, Mr Key said he would not write Mr Peters off altogether.
In a way Mr Key should take Mr Peters' decision to stand as a compliment. Mr Peters said he would also "love to think about standing in Epsom but I would never want to have a duel of wits with an unarmed opponent." The seat is held by Act leader Rodney Hide, who is currently dealing with internal party ructions.
© All content copyright NBR. Do not reproduce in any form without permission, even if you have a paid subscription.