Election 2011 News

Claims of government instability are scaremongering - Peters

Updated at 6:25 am on 25 November 2011

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says repeated suggestions his party would make a government unstable are scaremongering.

Mr Peters has said his party will not go into a coalition after the election and would sit on the Opposition benches but he says that does not mean it cannot work with other parties in government.

Speaking in the minor party leaders' debate on Radio New Zealand's Morning Report, Mr Peters was asked if the party could still enter formal government arrangements with Labour after the election.

He would not answer directly but says it will come down to whether people are prepared to share power and act responsibly.

"There can be stability regardless of the outcome after Saturday night and those that argue otherwise are merely doing it to try and frighten voters to a one party government."

National has said it cannot work with New Zealand First, but Labour has left the door open to working with Mr Peters.

ACT Party leader Don Brash said people are worried New Zealand First could hold the balance of power.

"People are saying Winston Peters might again hold the country to ransom as he did in 1996, as he did in 2005 and they're saying we don't want that. And that is actually helping the ACT Party vote."

United Future leader Peter Dunne said a lot of people are concerned that a National-led government supported predominantly by ACT would be a more right-wing government than in the last three years.

The message the party was getting was that people did not want National to govern alone nor beholden to ACT, he said.

Maori Party candidate for Waiariki, Te Ururoa Flavell, says his party supported the National-led government in the last Parliament.

Mr Flavell said his party is determined to be a strong, independent voice for Maori again and wants to influence the major parties, whether that's National or Labour.

"Over the last three years, fulfilling that role, we've been able to achieve some major gains and we want to be at the table again."

Mr Flavell said it didn't matter which other party that involved, as long as that party followed some of what the Maori Party believes in.

Both the Maori Party and United Future think they will increase the number of MPs they have in the next Parliament.

And Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said that, based on current polls, his party could have 18 MPs.

He said his party has run a strong campaign and the polls reflect that. "We're polling 10-15%, if we poll in that range we're talking 12 to ... who knows maybe 17, 18 MPs, so we'll see."

Dr Norman said the Greens put out their fiscal projections two months ago and he is yet to see the same detail from any of the other minor parties.

He said the Greens' policies will raise around $8 billion over three years, and cost about $4 billion over the same period.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira, says he expects to get up to four MPs into the next Parliament.

"I'm looking very much to the situation where I go back in with the group of people who I know I can count on in terms of the issues we think are important - eradicating poverty.

"You're talking about people like Annette Sykes, John Minto and Sue Bradford and myself."

Mr Harawira said the parties should be focussing on ensuring every child gets a decent meal every day. He said the policy would cost $38 million which could be funded by withdrawing New Zealand troops from Afghanistan.

Listen to full Morning Report minor leader's debate ( 50 min 44 sec )