2 Jul 2015

Change to NZ First deputy expected

10:11 am on 2 July 2015

New Zealand First MP Ron Mark is expected to be announced as the party's deputy leader tomorrow, replacing incumbent Tracey Martin.

NZ First MP, Ron Mark.

NZ First MP, Ron Mark. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Rumours have been rife about a challenge from Mr Mark since the party's caucus meeting on Tuesday.

Leader Winston Peters has repeatedly refused to deny the rumours of a coup.

The rest of the caucus, including Mr Mark and Ms Martin, has refused to comment, citing caucus confidentiality.

Mr Peters said that given "the shambles of information going out right now" he's likely to make a public statement to settle the matter of the deputy leadership.

"I'm not being difficult about it - I'm required to comply with our agenda which is to have confidentiality when you have caucus discussions.

"I'd love to help you but I can't."

Seventy-year-old Mr Peters was asked whether there was a succession plan for once he retired from politics and as leader of the party.

"Oh look we've always a succession plan but the reason why most parties talk about their leaders is because they haven't got one - we don't have that problem.

"I've probably got about 10 successors, that's how much talent we've got in New Zealand First."

On Wednesday Mr Peters confirmed Ms Martin was still the deputy leader but was less direct when asked if she would be staying on in that position.

"I'm not going to foreclose on what the caucus has decided by way of those issues, the caucus will decide that and will give you the time of that announcement."

He said there was always going to be a vote after the general election last year to determine the positions of leader, deputy and party whip, but that was delayed by the Northland by-election, in which Mr Peters stood as a candidate.