Winston Peters appears to claim credit for making 'three women PM' in speech, audience member calls it 'gross'

Winston Peters has credited himself with the political pinnacles of Aotearoa's only three female PMs, telling an audience at Parliament: "In my career, I made three women Prime Minister."   

He then later denied to Newshub he was taking credit for putting them in the top job.   

The speech was meant to be about the election as an opportunity to talk about race relations, taking aim once more at what he calls the Māori elite.   

"It's the worst type of racist I know: You need my help to be equal," the deputy Prime Minister said.   

Peters compared equity to sexism.   

"Some of us find that as revolting as chauvinist men behaving the same way, get it ladies?"   

Without a shred of irony, Peters appeared to claim it was he who maketh the women.   

"By the way, in my career, I made three women Prime Minister - you forgotten that? One of them let me down really bad and the other wasn't so good either."  

Peters was there when Jenny Shipley took over as Prime Minister then she sacked him. He later supported Helen Clark in a confidence and supply deal and most recently Jacinda Ardern in coalition.  

"He made some very bold claims as to his involvement in his making of specifically female Prime Ministers in this country," one audience member said.    

But Peters wouldn't stand by it moments later.    

"I said I was there when three females continued to be Prime Minister because I didn't rule them out, I didn't take credit for it," Peters said. "And - that's again - your narrative."   

When it was put to him audience members believed that was what he had said, Peters replied: "Well, look, if you're going to use them as the authority then go and interview them."   

Newshub did.   

"He was trying to convey he wasn't being sexist whilst being sexist," one said.   

"I lost the plot in that speech after about five minutes of that speech, there was a lot of spitting," said another.   

"It was pretty gross," said a third.

"Unhinged," said another.   

Newshub asked Prime Minister Christopher Luxon if Peters could take credit for his prime ministership.   

"That's a really odd question. The New Zealand people voted for change," Luxon said.    

That change was on display on Thursday as the switched sides warmed up their new seats during Question Time.    

Luxon was asked if the door remained open to a referendum on Te Tiriti o Waitangi.   

"What we have agreed as a government is that we will pursue a Treaty Principles Bill to Select Committee and that's as far as it will go," he responded.   

There were also challenges about how far National's bedfellows will go.    

"Well, I've got news for Christopher Luxon, your circus, your clowns," said Labour's Grant Robertson. "He is responsible from this day forward for every single one of everyone on that side of the House."   

In response, National MP Tim van de Molen said: "I am happy to offer that Member opposite my pocket square because he has a large dollop of sad sauce right here on my face."