Winston Peters a 'political predator' - Mark Richardson

Winston Peters - political pro or predator?

The veteran's surprise appearance at a highly charged public meeting in Woodville on Wednesday night has sparked debate on the New Zealand First leader's motives.

With no ministers present Mr Peters soaked up all the attention, telling locals the Government was letting NZTA take the brunt of the criticism.

AM Show host Mark Richardson on Thursday morning was sceptical of Mr Peters' agenda.

"I just realised what Winston is - he's a political predator," he told co-hosts Duncan Garner and Amanda Gillies.

"Whenever there's civil unrest, when anything's going down no matter how small the group might be, Winston is in there politically grandstanding."

"I wouldn't call him a political predator - I'd call him a political pro," replied Gillies.

Garner, mindful of Mr Peters' background as a lawyer, went for "opportunist". But Richardson, ever the sportsman, got stuck in further.

"I'm thinking of like a fish - like a snapper. It's a predator. It sees a wounded fish and it sees an opportunity.

"He's a political white blood cell, let's say. When there's injury he'll attach himself to the area - that's what white blood cells do.

"White blood cells is also pus, isn't it?"

Garner closed the conversation before Richardson could go too far, suggesting he was more annoyed that Mr Peters wasn't wearing an AM Show T-shirt.