Winston Peters proved he’s still in fighting form after stepping down from politics last year following New Zealand First’s defeat at last year’s general election.
The party failed to get the 5 per cent of the votes needed to remain in Parliament.
“It’s our intention and mission to remain the most successful political party outside of National and Labour in the last three decades – and that’s a fact,” Peters told party faithful at the 28th New Zealand First Party AGM in Auckland today.
Peters took the opportunity to tear into his former political adversaries, including the Greens, Labour, National and ACT.
“The Greens started in 1972 under the guise of values and have never, ever been in Cabinet. And then you’ve got all the rest; the Alliance [Party], United [Future], the ACT Party with a succession of leaders — probably more leaders than we’ve had secretaries," he said.
He added, "The Covid disruption is Labour's, like for John Key, global financial crisis. In great danger, the people get scared — they want to stay with what they've got."
Former National party leader John Key also failed to escape Peters' firing line, with Peters speaking out against the failed 2015-16 flag referendum.
Peters also took aim at "cancel culture", the use of te reo Māori in daily life, cyclists and his frequent target — the media.
He also criticised the "whole lot of people out there asking the questions, hoping that our demise is permanent".
"So many critics and scribes have tried and continued to write our obituary, but we’re here today, as always, steadfast and resolved to put New Zealand first.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we’re a phoenix that will again rise as the public wake up to the inexactitude – it’s a long word, so I’ll say it slowly for the media – the inexactitude of this Government and a hapless National Party."