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'Send them a message' Winston Peters tells Northland by-election voters

Winston Peters has kicked off his Northland by-election campaign in Wellsford, telling voters to send the Government a message that they've "had enough".

His campaign launch featured the New Zealand First leader's usual tongue-in-cheek humour, with him arriving on a specially-painted bus to the Little River Band's classic song Hold On which features the chorus line "hold on, help is on its way".

Outside the bus which carries the slogan "send them a message", Mr Peters told a group of voters the province was once the "jewel of this country" and actually used to be the capital "until they moved things to Auckland and then on to Wellington".

"But you need to, as a group of people, make up your mind. You want government to hear you? If you make the right vote on the 28th of March they'll hear you loud and clear, and boy will they be listening. "

Mr Peters last week threw his hat into the ring for the by-election which has been sparked by National MP Mike Sabin's resignation from Parliament in January for personal reasons.

'A stunt'

Prime Minister John Key says he thinks Mr Peters' chances of winning Northland are "absolutely zero".

Mr Key told reporters it's a part of the world that has voted National for a very long time and he thinks the people of Northland will "see through what is a stunt by Winston Peters".

"They know that we're delivering good results. We're committee to the roads up north - $250 million worth of local roads and 7500 jobs created over the last year alone," Mr Key said.

"I think people can see through Winston Peters. It's about him trying to be relevant because he didn't get what he wanted in the General Election. But when it comes to Northland I don't think his commitment or heart is in it. He's really just doing it to create trouble."

Mr Peters is up against candidates from Labour, National and Act. If he wins Northland, National would lose that seat and Mr Peters would also get to bring in another New Zealand First list MP to fill his current seat.

If that happens, National, with 59 seats, will still be able to pass laws, relying on support from either the Maori Party's two MPs, or ACT and United Future which have one seat each.

The New Zealand First leader kicked off his Northland campaign today in Wellsford. Source: 1 NEWS


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