Winston Peters says he could win next election

NZ First leader Winston Peters (Newshub.)
NZ First leader Winston Peters (Newshub.)

Forget kingmaker, Winston Peters wants to be king. In his keynote speech to his party's annual conference, the New Zealand First leader said he'll mobilise the near million Kiwis who don't vote.

"It's time for this party to realise its enormous potential," he said.

Mr Peters wants change. So whom is he going to work with to get there - National or Labour? Well, apparently no one.

"When journalists come to us and say, 'Who you going to go with?' They've got it all wrong," says Mr Peters.

So if he won't work with Labour and won't work with National, does he think he can beat them?

"Oh yeah, well I beat them both up in Northland didn't I?" he says.

But the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll had New Zealand First on 8 percent, and he's probably just ruling out a formal coalition.

But he is looking at widening his support base.

Yesterday the party introduced a policy targeted at the student vote - with an offer of free education if you stay in New Zealand plus a universal student allowance - and today it suggested drivers licences be made a core high school subject.

"We're going to get out there and get enough votes," he says.

And there's more to come. He's promising to campaign on a housing policy.

"We're going to go out to the hundreds and hundreds and thousands - no millions - of forgotten New Zealanders and tell them that there's one party that has these important words - words as mandate - these three  words - 'we hear you'," he says.

So what does it all mean? Well, with Mr Peters, only he ever really knows. The strategy is clear - connect with those who don't vote because they're sick of politics.

And if you think it sounds familiar, that's because it's stolen straight from the Brexit playbook.

Deputy leader Ron Mark took a crack at National and Labour today, comparing them to Pepsi and Coke, saying when you take off the red and blue labels they're both the same.