Patrick Gower: Meet the backroom operators wooing Winston Peters

OPINION: The political parties are beefing up their backroom teams to woo Winston Peters.

I've been talking to multiple and senior sources inside all the camps and have the lowdown.

NZ FIRST

Patrick Gower: Meet the backroom operators wooing Winston Peters
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Winston Peters will have his best mate and long-time confidante, Auckland lawyer Brian Henry working his corner throughout this process.

Henry has been at Peters' side during multiple negotiations and court cases - and their relationship is like that of brothers.

NATIONAL

Patrick Gower: Meet the backroom operators wooing Winston Peters
Photo credit: Newshub.

You might assume Steven Joyce would be there but you'd be wrong... Peters hates him - and Joyce knows it, so he has already stood aside.

Taking his place is Gerry Brownlee - he and Peters have what's been described as a "mutual fondness and respect" by a National insider.

Trade Minister Todd McClay is in the team because his father Roger McClay was one of Peters' top advisers.

Interestingly, Todd McClay took Peters to negotiate a free trade deal with the EU last year. Don't be surprised if you see a EU/UK trade negotiating position offered to Peters by National.

Wayne Eagleson is Bill English's chief of staff - but he actually quit today. He says he'll stick around for the talks, but it may be that Peters blames him for the leaking of his pension over-payment details and Eagleson may have to step aside.

LABOUR

Patrick Gower: Meet the backroom operators wooing Winston Peters
Photo credit: Newshub.

Labour has David Parker, who Peters says is the MP from another party that he respects the most. They have similar brains and philosophies - and could genuinely work together.

Annette King is also being lined up. She is respected by all, including Winston, who will consider her appointment a mark of respect to him.

And talking about respect, Labour are considering bringing in Sir Michael Cullen - the former deputy Prime Minister and finance minister, who Winston Peters worked in Government with.

Patrick Gower is Newshub's political editor.

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