17 Mar 2024

Winston Peters delivers State of the Nation speech

5:44 pm on 17 March 2024
Winston Peters delivers his State of the Nation address in Palmerston North.

Winston Peters after giving his State of the Nation speech today. Photo: RNZ/Katie Scotcher

Winston Peters compared co-governance to Nazi Germany's race-based theories in his State of the Nation speech.

The New Zealand First leader told an audience in Palmerston North that without the handbrake of New Zealand First which failed to get back into Parliament in 2020, the country went downhill.

He claimed that race-based theories emerged.

"Some people's DNA made them, sadly, according to these people and condoned by their cultural fellow travellers, their DNA made them somehow better than others.

"I've seen that sort of philosophy before. I saw it in Nazi Germany. We all did. We've seen it elsewhere around the world in the horrors of history.

"But here right in our country and tolerated, by people whose job was to keep the system honest, this happened."

Labour leader Chris Hipkins accused Peters of using racism and anti-media rhetoric to divide the country.

"Same old Winston Peters. Using racism and anti-media rhetoric to divide our country. He should be focusing on the real work of leading New Zealand forward, but that would require a plan and a vision. Sadly, this government is lacking in both.

"I ruled out working with Winston Peters before the election. Every day that goes by I feel more and more vindicated by that decision. Kiwis deserve better than a deputy prime minister who behaves like a drunk uncle at a wedding."

Peters used roughly half of the speech to criticise the previous Labour government, along with the media and the Green Party, before outlining New Zealand First's plans for the country.

Those included training 500 new frontline police officers and introducing new measures to tackle youth crime.

"We're going to know where their parents were on the night or day of the offence."

The party also planned to repeal the Therapeutic Products Act, upgrade the SuperGold card and the Veteran SuperGold card and "properly fund" Mike King's mental health initiative Gumboot Friday, he said.

The biggest cheers from the crowd - which was standing room only at the 240-seat convention centre - came when Peters spoke about removing gender and sexuality lessons from the school curriculum, and making English an official language of New Zealand.

Peters called for unity in closing his speech, saying New Zealanders needed to work together to restore New Zealand to what he said was its former glory.

"We can become again the envy of the world."

This week, in his role as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Peters returned to New Zealand after a whirlwind trip visiting several countries in the South and South East Asia region.

Recap Winston Peters' speech with RNZ's blog:

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