12 Sep 2008

NZ First to focus on social, economic policies

5:22 pm on 12 September 2008

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says his party's election campaign will focus on the social and economic outcomes for the country.

Mr Peters says he is not worried about how the controversy over donations to his party and his legal fund will affect the party's campaign.

He says he expected the election to be held sometime in November, and says the battle lines have now been drawn.

On Friday morning, he launched a scathing attack on the media, a day after Prime Minister Helen Clark criticised him for belligerent behaviour.

In a speech to Grey Power in Auckland on Friday morning, Mr Peters suggested the media was trying subvert democracy in New Zealand.

Mr Peters said the media is like a school of piranhas circling society seeking to slash, tear, maim and destroy anything that shows any signs of weakness.

Miss Clark said she would not sack Mr Peters as a minister on Thursday, after he gave evidence to Parliament's privileges committee the previous day over a $100,000 donation from expatriate businessman Owen Glenn towards Mr Peters' legal bills.

But she said Mr Peters' often belligerent behaviour during the controversy makes him a difficult person to insist on due process for.

Mr Peters has stood down from his ministerial portfolios, including that of Foreign Affairs Minister, while the privileges committee is conducting its inquiry.

He told his audience on Friday the media has turned into a hunting pack against New Zealand First.

He says though the party has made some mistakes, it wants the public to decide its fate, not the media.