Newshub Nation host Rebecca Wright grills Winston Peters on choosing Labour in 2017 after claiming 'we need to take the country back'

Newshub Nation host Rebecca Wright has quizzed Winston Peters after claiming "we need to take the country back", despite his party choosing to go into a coalition with Labour in 2017.

Wright asked Peters during an interview on Saturday why he lost so much support at the 2020 election, which saw him booted from Parliament.

"Here's why - because in April of 2020, the Serious Fraud Office launched an attack on New Zealand First," Peters replied, referring to the case of two party-linked people being prosecuted - both of whom were later found not guilty of fraudulently depositing money into a New Zealand First Foundation Account. 

The New Zealand First leader was appearing on Newshub Nation after a major speech on Friday in which he slammed "woke virtue-signalling", claiming there is a "full-scale attack" underway on Kiwis' culture, identity and sense of belonging.  The former Deputy Prime Minister included several re-heated New Zealand First policies in his "state of the nation" speech, like meeting St John funding demand and tougher sentences for assaulting first responders.

"You get on Air New Zealand, they've got the waka in the sky. Why are we putting up with this bulldust? It's your country," Peters said in the speech. "Take it back."

Peters doubled down on Saturday morning, telling Wright people were "seeking to change" New Zealand "without any authority, mandate… and doing it silently behind your back".

"Did they have a mandate for Light Rail which has gone to now $29 billion and rising? No, they didn't," Peters said.  "Did they have a mandate, for example, for capital gains tax? No, they didn't. Guess why? Because we are the handbrake that stopped them," Peters said, referring to his party refusing to back the tax in 2019 while in coalition with Labour. 

So, why did Winston Peters choose Labour?

Wright then confronted Peters on why he formed a coalition Government with Labour over National in 2017 when his party became the kingmaker after receiving 7.2 percent of the vote.

"The great irony is, actually, you were the person who put them there," Wright said of Labour.

"Oh, here we go," Peters replied. "This is extraordinary."

Peters told Wright she was "going down a foxhole".

Wright also put it to Peters that many voters on the right may not have forgiven him for choosing Labour in 2017.

"Burbling on like that does not help your argument," Peters replied.

Peters was booted out of Parliament in 2020 when New Zealand First failed to reach the five percent threshold. New Zealand First has remained below the threshold in most recent polls, with the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll in January putting the party at 2.2 percent. 

Watch the full video for more. 

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