Government a 'bum with five cheeks' - Peters

Winston Peters (Getty)
Winston Peters (Getty)

New Zealand First dropped a range of new policies aimed at younger voters over the weekend, in an attempt to broaden its support base.

Free tertiary education for students who stay and work in New Zealand, a wider range of apprenticeship opportunities and driving classes at high school were all proposed.

Mr Peters is bullish on the party's chances, after taking the Northland seat off National last year, and recent polls putting New Zealand First over 8 percent

The party outperformed the polls at both the 2011 and 2014 general elections, so Mr Peters has reason to be confident.

"Unless we get a dramatic economic and social change as a result of our efforts at the next election, we would have failed," the veteran MP told Paul Henry on Monday.

"That's our objective. We know that unless we've got a dramatic change from this neoliberal failure that every other country seems to understand now but us, then we as a party would have failed."

The education policy announcement was the biggest of the bunch, with an estimated price tag of $5 billion. It's potentially also as complex as it is costly.

"It is highly affordable," says Mr Peters. "We've done all the costings, but it's far too, how should I put it? It's nothing so shallow I could possibly describe it to you."

As for coalitions, Mr Peters is yet again refusing to say whether he'd prefer to go with his former party National, or the Labour-Greens alliance.

"You've got what I call the bum with five cheeks on our right called the National Party, and all its cling-ons. You've got the unholy wedding prenuptials which is a divorce on election night on the other side. And you've got a party in the middle going it alone called New Zealand First.

"It's a three-way fight and we intend to make this a three-way battle."

It's long been speculated former Labour MP Shane Jones will make a political comeback after his time as Ambassador for Pacific Economic Development, with many expecting him to join his old friend Mr Peters in black, rather than rejoining team red.

Mr Peters says the pair haven't discussed it, and won't while he's an Ambassador.

"Shane is a neutral, independent diplomat, above politics as we all know. The whole thing is an academic exercise."

Prime Minister John Key, who created the ambassadorial job specifically for Mr Jones, isn't convinced he even wants to come back.

"We think he's great in the role he's doing. I really like Shane."