Winston Peters may be in the worst position of all - Patrick Gower

  • 27/09/2017

Despite Winston Peters occupying the 'kingmaker' position he so craved prior to the election, the New Zealand First leader "doesn't have a lot of great choices", says Newshub political editor Patrick Gower.

Gower spoke to The AM Show on Wednesday morning, and said choosing between National and Labour-Greens perhaps puts him "in the worst position" of all the political leaders.

"One, he could prop up a Government under [National leader] Bill English, who despite their high polling his [Peters'] mind will be thinking will go down sometime," he said.

"Two, he could prop up [Labour leader] Jacinda Ardern - and the Green Party, because he can't do it without the Greens - and that's not ideal either. Is that really what the people that voted for him wanted?"

Gower's comments come a day after Mr Peters launched a fiery tirade at him, following Gower's claim a party source told him the New Zealand First leader was seeking revenge on National for trying to quash his campaign.

In a press release, Mr Peters accused Gower of "claiming sources that don't exist" and living in "Newshub's world of make-believe" - but Gower says the veteran politician is just worried that those reports will make him look childish if he opts for a Labour-Greens coalition.

"I don't think Winston Peters really wants the picture built up there that he's motivated by utu (revenge) - he would prefer people to think he's this giant statesman who's above all that stuff," Gower explained.

"The reality is [National finance minister] Steven Joyce has referred to him as a 'crazy old uncle'. He thinks he's crazy. He's got no respect for Winston Peters - and Winston Peters not long ago was saying Bill English should resign.

"There's an incredible amount of bad blood there."

Despite that, Gower says Mr Peters is trying his best to remain coy on which way he goes - and is enjoying being mysterious with the media and parties affected by his decision.

"What he's enjoying doing is creating a whole lot of white noise around him. He wants to be inscrutable. He doesn't want anyone to guess where he's gonna go or what he's gonna do," Gower said.

"I guess he's a bit like a gecko - when you're trying to catch a gecko among the rocks you pick up one, he runs under the other; you pick up that one, he runs elsewhere; you finally get him, and the tail falls off and he escapes again.

"That's the sort of position he's taking - not just with the media, but the political parties as well. That's what he wants."