3 Feb 2011

PM's stance arrogant, says Peters

10:12 am on 3 February 2011

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says Prime Minister John Key is being naive, arrogant and anti-democratic in ruling him out as a potential coalition partner.

Mr Key, in his early naming of a 26 November election, ruled out any formal arrangement with Mr Peters - saying a vote for New Zealand First would now be a vote for Labour Party leader Phil Goff as prime minister.

Winston Peters says the Prime Minister's move would only limit the options of someone who is obsessed with being in government.

Mr Peters says New Zealand First has never ruled out the option of sitting on the cross-benches acting as a watchdog for the people of New Zealand.

Mr Goff says the public will decide who forms the next Government.

He told Morning Report the election is not about any particular individual or any particular party, but about a clear choice between the visions set out already by the two major parties.

Early announcement 'refreshing change'

The minor political parties are pleased Mr Key has made an early announcement of the election date.

The Green Party says announcing the date ten months in advance is a sensible move as it makes it easier for political parties and the public to plan their year.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia says it is the first time that such a good heads-up has been given ahead of polling day, and for a small party with a small budget it is a real plus.

Mrs Turia says her party's main goal is to be part of a Government, because it means being part of the decision-making.

ACT leader Rodney Hide says Prime Ministers have in the past played a game with the election date, and Mr Key's move is a refreshing change.

Mr Hide concedes his party has had difficulties with infighting, and embarrassment over his use of perks, and the shaming of former MP David Garrett but told Morning Report that his party has succeeded in providing a stable government and will do so again.