Peters plays down 'Jacinda effect'

Winston Peters spoke in Gisborne on Tuesday. Picture by Paul Rickard

FORMER Prime Minister John Key resigned because he was “in grave danger of losing’’, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said in Gisborne on Tuesday.

He made the claim after The Herald asked him asked to comment on the “Jacinda Ardern effect”. Mr Peters declined to answer and said he feared being misinterpreted.

The Herald challenged him by saying the change of Labour Party leadership had been the most significant factor in an election which, until then, National would have won easily.

“I dispute that totally,” Mr Peters said. Polls flattered and over-rated National, he said.

“John Key wanted a life change. He knew he was in grave danger of not winning.”

Mr Peters said National had been sitting at 44 or 45 percent in the polls.

The Herald suggested a political party did not panic when ahead in the polls by 20 percent.

“Yes they do, when poll ratings put them well below where they want to be.

“They want to be 49 percent or more, where you can take 3 percent slippage. You can’t take 3 percent slippage at 45 percent. That puts you at 42 percent and you’re a goner.

“They were worried then; they’re much more worried now.”

Mr Peters said the other election dichotomy was that it was “flush-out time” for third parties, with the exception of New Zealand First.

“A lot of small parties are going into oblivion."

Mr Peters said his party was at 10 percent in the polls. The Greens had been struggling for about five months, long before the Labour Party leadership change, and had been trailing New Zealand First for some time.

“I’m afraid the media and the ‘commentariat’, and their love for the Greens — they despise Winston Peters — won’t help them now.”

Mr Peters said the Greens were in trouble because people could not afford “a luxury vote like that”, and he said the Greens were out of touch.

FORMER Prime Minister John Key resigned because he was “in grave danger of losing’’, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said in Gisborne on Tuesday.

He made the claim after The Herald asked him asked to comment on the “Jacinda Ardern effect”. Mr Peters declined to answer and said he feared being misinterpreted.

The Herald challenged him by saying the change of Labour Party leadership had been the most significant factor in an election which, until then, National would have won easily.

“I dispute that totally,” Mr Peters said. Polls flattered and over-rated National, he said.

“John Key wanted a life change. He knew he was in grave danger of not winning.”

Mr Peters said National had been sitting at 44 or 45 percent in the polls.

The Herald suggested a political party did not panic when ahead in the polls by 20 percent.

“Yes they do, when poll ratings put them well below where they want to be.

“They want to be 49 percent or more, where you can take 3 percent slippage. You can’t take 3 percent slippage at 45 percent. That puts you at 42 percent and you’re a goner.

“They were worried then; they’re much more worried now.”

Mr Peters said the other election dichotomy was that it was “flush-out time” for third parties, with the exception of New Zealand First.

“A lot of small parties are going into oblivion."

Mr Peters said his party was at 10 percent in the polls. The Greens had been struggling for about five months, long before the Labour Party leadership change, and had been trailing New Zealand First for some time.

“I’m afraid the media and the ‘commentariat’, and their love for the Greens — they despise Winston Peters — won’t help them now.”

Mr Peters said the Greens were in trouble because people could not afford “a luxury vote like that”, and he said the Greens were out of touch.

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