Chumbawamba mulls legal action against 'bizarre, antagonistic' Winston Peters as he keeps using song

"It's bizarre" that Winston Peters continues to use Chumbawamba's 'Tubthumping' song despite being publicly asked not to, the band's singer says.

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters played the song again on Wednesday while avoiding reporters' questions.

"Is he just being antagonistic about it now? Is that his thing?" one of Chumbawamba's founding members and singer of 'Tubthumping', Dunstan Bruce, told First Up.

He said it seemed like Peters did not understand what Chumbawamba stood for "and how egregious we think his political views are".

"It's bizarre the more he does it, the more that we respond. It's bizarre."

Peters was not the first right-wing politician to use this song, Bruce said.

"Nigel Farage used it in the UK. After he had a plane crash, he started using the song, we had to sort of tell him to stop using it."

But he said politicians in Australia and US have tried to use it as well.

Bruce said the song was about "working class resilience and coming together in communities that were sort of accepting of different people's political views and different people's ethnic backgrounds".

"When we found out that he was espousing ideas about anti-immigration policies - it just was so against everything that that song actually stands for," he said.

"It's a ridiculous misuse of the song because the song is about resilience and community, and the idea that we can fight back against the state and the forces that are keeping us down."

He said Peters using the song made him "angry and sad".

"It has nothing to do with anything that he stands for."

The band had asked its record label to intervene with a cease and desist letter.

"We can sue him, I suppose, if we so wish, or if the record label or the publishing company decide that that's the best way to stop him using the song," Bruce said.

Every time Peters used the song, the band would have the opportunity to disagree with his views, he said.

"If he thinks that's good publicity for him, then, you know, 'fill your boots'."

Peters has denied reports he has been asked by the anarchist punk band to stop playing their best-known song at his rallies.

In a previous statement, Chumbawamba said it seems "entirely odd" that the 'I get knocked down' refrain was being used by Peters "as he barks his divisive, small-minded, bigoted policies during his recent speeches".

"Chumbawamba would like to make it clear that we did not give permission for Peters to use the song and would ask him to stop using it to try to shore up his misguided political views."

The chorus to 'Tubthumping', which topped the New Zealand charts in September 1997, goes: "I get knocked down, but I get up again / You are never gonna keep me down."

Peters also quoted the song in a speech in Auckland in July 2023.