18 Jul 2020

NZ First to launch election campaign at weekend convention

10:55 am on 18 July 2020

New Zealand First will hold its 27th convention in Auckland this weekend, with its leader focused on the need for economic responsibility in a post-Covid world.

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Winston Peters Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

Winston Peters will make his keynote speech tomorrow afternoon.

After spending the last two weeks recovering from an unexpected surgery, Peters is combining the party's postponed campaign launch with the convention.

The launch was due to be held in Whangārei last Sunday.

Today kicks off with training for new candidates, followed by a session where policy proposals will be discussed and voted on, ranging from greater cost benefit analysis of government spending, to health system upgrades, and help for people to buy their first farm.

The campaign bus used during the 2017 election period was also due to make its return this weekend, but bad weather north of Auckland has prevented it making the journey south.

Peters told RNZ he was feeling fit and well following his surgery and he was looking forward to "showtime''.

Now more than ever, New Zealand needs a "serious dose of common sense'', according to Peters. It's a popular catchphrase with his members, and one Peters has been rolling out for the last 26 years.

He will also set out to clarify the real cost of a few big projects.

"There's some things that Aucklanders need to know, like what is the actual cost of light rail?''

The provinces have also been a focus for New Zealand First and he said it was "amazing'' that National and Labour had only just discovered the regions exist since Covid-19 struck.

The guest speaker at this year's conference is Tauranga's Steve Saunders.

Saunders is the founder and board chair of RoboticsPlus and Plus Group. He has 28 years experience in the New Zealand horticulture industry, specialising in global pollen production, and robotics development.

Peters said he will be addressing the convention about what success looks like.

The convention ends at midday tomorrow, and then the campaign launch kicks off in the afternoon, when Peters will deliver his speech.

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