Election 2023: New Zealand First leader Winston Peters warming up for comeback as party selects new faces

After being rejected by voters at the last election and spending a term frozen out of politics, Winston Peters is warming up for a comeback.

NZ First is holding its annual conference in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and on Saturday announced some new faces - including an anti-mandate doctor and fringe lobbyist.

The Right Honourable is back with his old razzle-dazzle.

"Just repeat to yourselves the words of Chambawamba - I get knocked down but I get up again. You're never going to keep me down," Peters said.

After being knocked down and out at the last election, Peters has spent the last term out in the cold - and he's been using that time to court every vote he can.

There's a slew of new candidates to show for it, including an anti-mandate doctor who was at the protest.

"Winston's involvement in the anti-mandate cause in the end strongly overlaps with my own orientation," NZ First candidate Dr Michelle Warren said.

And the spokesperson for fringe lobby group Hobson's Pledge which campaigns against 'Māori favouritism'.

The issues members really care are about on display like scrapping Three Waters and stopping schools from teaching gender studies.

"Main issue for me is co-governance," one person said.

"Crime, certainly," said a second.

"Co-governance, principally," a third added.

NZ First has also welcomed back its former MP Jenny Marcroft who ditched the party after its 2020 defeat. Marcroft's mission is to scrap Pharmac entirely.

After ruling out Labour, Peters' only path to power is to support a National Government in some way but won't answer any questions about it.

"Unlike you, I'm the former Treasurer of this country during the Asian Financial Crisis," he said.

And after being around so long Peters was there during that 1997 crash, he now has to convince voters he's still relevant.

"You know I don't have to convince the voters, I'm already doing that, and in the end, I'm going to convince you," he said.

A Peters comeback might take a little more than that.