Exclusive: Police investigating white supremacists' death threats against Winston Peters

Winston Peters and Philip Arps
Winston Peters and Philip Arps Photo credit: Newshub

Newshub can reveal police are investigating death threats made to Winston Peters by a notorious white supremacist.

Peters says National leader Simon Bridges has aligned himself with the anti-immigrant cause and is calling for him to resign.

Many will know Philip Arps - the white power extremist known for delivering a pig's head to Al Noor Mosque in 2016 and publicly calling for the killing of Muslims.

He was the first New Zealander jailed for sharing the video of the shootings there on March 15. Now Newshub has obtained video of him threatening to kill the Deputy Prime Minister.

In Christchurch - seven weeks before the shootings - far-right groups attended a protest against a United Nations pact on immigration our Government signed up to.

The protesters believe the pact is 'binding' - meaning our immigration policy would be set by the UN and opening us up to immigrants - and blamed Peters.

"F**king publicly hang him," Arps can be seen saying, along with throat-slitting gestures.

Peters is blaming it on a fake news campaign by neo-Nazis in Europe.

"A bunch of neo-Nazis in Austria were behind this - and they are," he told Newshub.

In particular, he's blaming it on Martin Sellner, the leader of the "hipster far-right" in Europe called "the new face of the far-right in Europe".

Sellner is the leader of Austria's 'Identitarians' - a global anti-immigration youth movement with followers in New Zealand.

It warns of "The Great Replacement" - that European culture is disappearing under a wave of Muslim immigration.

But Sellner is also accused of spreading lies - spearheading a campaign against the pact that swept Europe, putting huge pressure on politicians, and even bringing down the government in Belgium.

An investigation by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which monitors extremism online, found: "Far-right and right-wing populist influencers... began spreading large-scale distorted interpretations and misinformation about the UN migration pact."

The pact is a global set of guidelines on how to deal with migrants and is non-binding on governments. But the investigation found a key part of the online campaign was the fake claim that the pact was "binding".

In one hugely influential video in German, Sellner claimed the UN compact would lead to the "demise of the European people".

Peters calls it a "campaign of fake news and misinformation".

"It was international - and here you have got a bunch of suckers who fell for it. And now they are threatening me," Peters says.

It wasn't just extremists like Arps who came out against the pact. The National Party did too.

"National, if in Government, will overturn this," leader Simon Bridges said in one video. "We believe it will cede our sovereignty to the UN on migration and that just isn't right."

Just like Sellner, the National Party set up an online petition. But immediately after the mosque shooting, when one of the alleged gunman's weapons had anti-UN pact messaging - it was pulled down.

Peters says there are too many connections to the far right - deliberate or not - for Bridges to continue as leader of the Opposition, and he's calling on him to resign.

"I don't just think that any normal person would, in a political setting, say this is untenable. He's gotta go."

Now Peters is calling on our spies - the SIS - to investigate how Sellner and the European Identitarian movement influenced so many New Zealanders.

"You don't know where this is gonna go, but unchecked, there could be horrific results as a consequence," he says.

Bridges says he won't be resigning and says he doesn't condone any threats to politicians.

He says National would still pull out of the United Nations Global Migration Compact, which the US and Australia haven't signed.

"Winston Peters is wrong. New Zealand should decide our immigration settings, not the UN," he says.

SIS director Rebecca Kitteridge said she was unable to confirm operational details, but well-placed sources have told Newshub the SIS was aware of the campaign and is on the case.

Sellner himself told Newshub he wasn't running a "disinformation campaign".

"On the contrary! It was an information campaign, by several right wing parties & myself," he said in an online message.

They didn't target New Zealand, but he said: "we have sympathisers all around the world."

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said they are considering further action over the threats.