National Party leader Bill English has told voters Winston Peters will not be the kingmaker at this year's election.
At a public meeting in Ōhāriu on Tuesday evening, Mr English said the New Zealand First leader "does not decide who the government is".
"I don't like the way that it's presumed, I'm sure by him but by commentators and others, that somehow this election is all about his decision. It's not - it's about [the voters'] decision."
Newshub's current polling shows National needs Mr Peters to get over the line.
- Newshub's poll data bank
- National's campaign ad attacks Winston Peters despite needing him to govern
However Mr English is remaining confident.
"I think he said on October 12, that's when the government will be decided. Actually I think it will be on September 23.
"It's going to be a decision between National in a real position of strength under a government I form, and Mr Peters and Labour Party and whatever is left over of the Greens once the Labour Party has stopped savaging them."
The meeting was to endorse National's Ōhāriu candidate Brett Hudson following the resignation of United Future's Peter Dunne.
Mr English says the National Party "will not spend any time" negotiating coalition arrangements prior to the election.
"We have a very strong focus on getting our vote up so that I can form a strong government after the election."