20 Oct 2013

Peters predicts 'shaky' Govt will call early election

12:13 pm on 20 October 2013

The New Zealand First leader is predicting an early election next year because of what he describes as a shaky Government.

Winston Peters made the comments at the party's annual conference in Christchurch on Saturday.

He also warned that the exchange rate for the New Zealand dollar could climb to as high as 90-cents against the American currency because the Government isn't acting to stabilise the economy.

Mr Peters says the Government should have taken steps months ago to protect the country's export-dependent economy from a high dollar.

He says the greenback is seriously unstable.

Mr Peters says the Government is running the currency for the benefit of what he describes as downtown paper shufflers and the money-movers of Auckland.

Earlier, Mr Peters also lashed out at insurance companies, saying they are stifling the rebuild of Christchurch.

Mr Peters told 170 people at the conference that he would have expected work on rebuilding the city to be a 24-hour, seven-day a week operation.

But he said this is not happening, because there is a lack of support from central Government and insurance companies.

Newly-elected Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel, who opened the conference, welcomed Mr Peters' comments.

Mr Peters pledged to do whatever he could to help the mayor, and the rebuild.

Before the conference began, Mr Peters said that with controversies dogging National support partners United Future and ACT, New Zealand First is in a prime position to decide which party will govern after next year's general election.

Labour and National are keeping their options open about a potential post-election deal with New Zealand First.