Simon Bridges has called out NZ First and the Greens after both parties criticised him for politicising Waitangi.
The National Party leader was one of a group of politicians who spoke after being welcomed on to Te Whare Rūnanga, the upper marae at Waitangi today. During his speech, Mr Bridges announced that if he were in government, National would build a four-lane highway from Whangārei to Auckland.
But both Green Party co-leader James Shaw and NZ First leader Winston Peters, who spoke after Mr Bridges, called him to task for politicising Waitangi.
Mr Shaw said it was not the time for “petty partisan politics”, while Mr Peters called Mr Bridges comments a "politicisation" of the event.
Speaking to media soon after, Mr Bridges hit back.
"That's the cynical game actually from the Labour Party, the Greens and NZ First," said Mr Bridges.
"That's why they put me up so they can then do what they've done. Every speech contained politics and they have every Waitangi I've been to," he said.
"What we've got here is a Labour, Greens and NZ First Government that don't want to ask the hard questions."
Mr Bridges then reiterated his earlier proposal that if elected he would deliver a four lane highway from Whangārei to Auckland.
"We know that would be a game changer for this area. I started it and I want to finish it," he said.