Winston Peters says Labour hid He Puapua - but Newshub can reveal he was among those who commissioned it

Winston Peters has kicked off the election year promising to remove te teo Māori names from public sectors and ruling out going into Government with Labour.

Peters has maintained Labour lied to him over the contentious He Puapua report - but Newshub can reveal Peters was among the ministers who commissioned it.

Patiently waiting amid an abundance of adulation from one speaker, Peters then laid it on pretty thick himself.

"Why are we putting up with this bulldust? It's your country. Take it back," he said. 

He also made a promise.

"Under New Zealand First, we will change all of the woke virtue-signalling names of every government department back to English."

Peters also ruled out who he would work with in Government. 

"We've made it very clear, we are not going with any party that practises racism, that seeks to divide this country," he said.

By that, he meant Labour.

"We are not going with parties that practise racist policies."

And by that, he means co-governance.

Peters said Labour went behind his back when they were in Government together.

"Worse than that. I'm the Deputy Prime Minister, not even telling me."

He claims they didn't tell New Zealand First about a plan to address New Zealand's United Nations obligations to address indigenous rights, colloquially called UNDRIP (the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

That plan turned into the contentious He Puapua report, which was attacked as a co-governance agenda.

Asked if he had nothing to do with UNDRIP, Peters said: "Of course, I didn't."

But hang on, take a look at the minutes from a Cabinet subcommittee in March 2019.

This is where it was agreed "to develop a national plan of action" to respond to UNDRIP. And which minister is at the top of the list? The Right Honourable Winston Peters.

Asked if he was in a Cabinet committee that signed it off, Peters said that was false. 

In a further statement, Peters contends any Cabinet subcommittee has a duty and obligation as a part of any government to respond to any UN declaration, in this case the UNDRIP.

However, he said following this, the subcommitee did not consult with him on He Puapua.

"That consultation never occurred.  I was never shown the report as the Minister of Foreign Affairs holding the key portfolio interest."

"The fact he says that he didn't know about it either says he completely forgot that he signed it off or he can't be trusted," said ACT's Brooke van Velden.

Peters said: "With the greatest respect, you all know what my position on UNDRIP was."