|The Right Honourable
|13th Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand|
16 December 1996 – 14 August 1998
|Prime Minister||Jim Bolger (1996–1997)
Jenny Shipley (1997–1998)
|Preceded by||Don McKinnon|
|Succeeded by||Wyatt Creech|
16 December 1996 – 14 August 1998
|Prime Minister||Jim Bolger
|Succeeded by||Bill Birch|
|26th Minister of Foreign Affairs|
19 October 2005 – 29 August 2008
|Prime Minister||Helen Clark|
|Preceded by||Phil Goff|
|Succeeded by||Helen Clark (Acting)
|35th Minister of Māori Affairs|
|Prime Minister||Jim Bolger|
|Preceded by||Koro Wētere|
|Succeeded by||Doug Kidd|
|Leader of New Zealand First|
|Preceded by||Party established|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
|Preceded by||Malcolm Douglas|
|Succeeded by||Colin Moyle|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
17 July 1984 – 17 September 2005
|Preceded by||Keith Allen|
|Succeeded by||Bob Clarkson|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for New Zealand First List
11 April 1945 |
Whangarei, New Zealand
|Political party||New Zealand First (1993–present)|
|Spouse(s)||(Divorced, two children)|
Winston Raymond Peters (born 11 April 1945) is a New Zealand politician and leader of New Zealand First, a political party he founded in 1993. Peters has had a successful and turbulent political career since entering Parliament in 1978, first serving as a Cabinet Minister in the Bolger Government before being sacked in 1991. As leader of New Zealand First, he held the balance of power after the 1996 election and formed a coalition with National, securing the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer. However, the coalition dissolved in 1998 following the replacement of Bolger by Jenny Shipley as Prime Minister.
In 1999 New Zealand First returned to Opposition before entering into a government again with the Labour Party in 2005, in which he served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs. On 29 August 2008 he stood down as a Minister pending a police investigation into a funding scandal involving Peters and New Zealand First.
In the 2008 general election, New Zealand First failed to reach the five percent threshold and Peters did not regain his seat. As a result, neither Peters or New Zealand First were returned to Parliament. However, in the 2011 general election New Zealand First experienced a resurgence in support, winning 6.59 percent of the party vote to secure eight seats in Parliament.
Early life 
Peters was born in the Northland city of Whangarei. He is of mixed ethnicity, his father being Māori and his mother being of Scottish descent. His iwi affiliation is Ngāti Wai and his clan is McInnes. Two of his brothers, Ian and Jim, have also been MPs, and another brother Ron has also stood as a New Zealand First candidate.
After attending Whangarei Boys' High School and Dargaville High School Peters studied history, politics and law at the University of Auckland and graduated BA and LLB before working both as a teacher and a lawyer. He was a member of the University Rugby Club in Auckland and captain of the Auckland Māori Rugby team. He also played in the Prince of Wales Cup for the Māori All Blacks trials. One brother, Wayne, played rugby for Otago and North Auckland in the then National Provincial Championship and was in the Junior All Blacks while another brother, Allan, represented Wanganui in rugby.
Member of Parliament 
National Party 
Peters entered national politics in 1975, standing unsuccessfully for the National Party in the electorate seat of Northern Maori. This followed a successful campaign by Peters and other members of his Ngati Wai iwi to retain their tribal land in the face of the Labour government's plan to create coastal land reserves for the public. The result was that virtually no ancestral land was taken by the government of the day in the Whangarei coastal areas, and the initiative helped inspire the 1975 Land March led by Whina Cooper.
Peters successfully ran again in 1978 but only after winning in the High Court an electoral petition which overturned the election night result for the seat of Hunua (an electorate in the Auckland area) against Malcolm Douglas, the brother of Roger Douglas. He lost this seat in 1981, but in 1984 he successfully stood in the electorate of Tauranga.
He became the National Party's spokesperson on Māori Affairs, Consumer Affairs, and Transport. In 1987, he was elevated to National's front bench, acting as spokesperson for Māori Affairs, Employment, and Race Relations. After National won the 1990 election, Peters became Minister of Māori Affairs in the fourth National government, led by Jim Bolger.
Peters disagreed with the party leadership on a number of matters, and frequently spoke out against his party regarding them. This made him relatively popular with the public. However, his party colleagues distrusted him, and his publicity-seeking behaviour made him increasingly disliked within his own party. While National may have tolerated his difference of opinion, they were far less willing to accept public criticism from a Cabinet minister which they determined was undermining the party. In October 1991, Bolger sacked Peters from Cabinet.
Peters remained as a National backbencher, continuing to criticise the party. In late 1992, when the National Party was considering possible candidates for the elections in the following year, it was decided that Peters would not be allowed to seek renomination for Tauranga. Peters unsuccessfully challenged this decision in the High Court, and in early 1993, he chose to resign from the party and from Parliament. This prompted a by-election in Tauranga some months before the scheduled general election. He stood as an independent and won easily.
New Zealand First 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (August 2008)|
|Parliament of New Zealand|
|2011 – present||50th||List||1||NZ First|
Shortly before the 1993 election, Peters established New Zealand First and retained his Tauranga seat. Another New Zealand First candidate, Tau Henare, unseated the Labour incumbent in Northern Maori, helping to convince people that New Zealand First was not simply Peters' personal vehicle.
In the 1996 elections, the MMP electoral system delivered a huge windfall to New Zealand First. The party won 17 seats and swept all of the Māori electorates. More importantly, it held the balance of power in Parliament. Neither National nor Labour had enough support to govern alone. Neither party could form a majority without the backing of New Zealand First, meaning Peters could effectively choose the next prime minister.
It was widely expected that he would throw his support to Labour and make Labour leader Helen Clark New Zealand's first female prime minister. Peters had bitterly criticised his former National colleagues, and appeared to promise that he would not even consider a coalition with Bolger. However, after over a month of negotiations with both parties, Peters decided to enter into coalition with National. Michael Laws, the party's campaign manager, later claimed that Peters had already decided to join forces with National and used his negotiations with Labour simply to win more concessions from Bolger.
Whatever the case, Peters exacted a high price for allowing Bolger to stay on as prime minister. Peters became Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer (senior to the Minister of Finance), the latter post created especially for him. Initially, there were concerns about whether Peters would be able to work with Bolger, the National prime minister who had previously sacked him from Cabinet, but the two did not seem to have any major difficulties.
Later, however, tensions began to develop between Peters and the National Party, which only worsened after Jenny Shipley staged a party room coup and became prime minister. After a dispute over the privatisation of Wellington International Airport, Peters was sacked from Cabinet again on 14 August 1998. He immediately broke off the coalition and led New Zealand First back into opposition. However, several MPs, including deputy leader Henare, opted to stay in government and leave New Zealand First. It later came out that Henare had tried to oust Peters as leader, but failed. None of the MPs who opted to stay in government retained their seats in the next election.
New Zealand First was severely mauled in the 1999 elections, which saw Labour oust National from power. The party suffered for the rash of party-switching. Additionally, there was a wide perception that Peters had led voters to believe a vote for New Zealand First would get rid of National, only to turn around and go into coalition with National. New Zealand First collapsed to 4.3 percent of the vote, and would have been shut out of Parliament had Peters not managed to hold onto Tauranga by 63 votes. This only allowed New Zealand First to win five seats. Under New Zealand's MMP rules, a party that falls below the 5 percent threshold can still qualify for MMP by winning one electorate seat. Still in opposition, he continued to promote his traditional policies, but also became more noticeably concerned about immigration policies.
In the 2002 election, Peters performed well once again, campaigning on three main issues: reducing immigration, increasing punishments for crime, and ending the "grievance industry" around Treaty of Waitangi settlements. This message regained much support for both Peters and his party, especially from among the elderly who had in the past backed Winston Peters, and New Zealand First won 10 percent of the vote and 13 seats. Peters seemed to hope that Labour would choose to ally with New Zealand First in order to stay in power. However, Clark explicitly rejected this possibility, instead relying on support from elsewhere. This appeared to anger Peters considerably.
In a speech at Orewa in 2005, he criticised immigration from Asian countries as "imported criminal activity" and warned that New Zealanders were "being colonised without having any say in the numbers of people coming in and where they are from." He also accused the Labour Party of having an "ethnic engineering and re-population policy." In July 2005, Peters said New Zealand should err on the side of caution in admitting immigrants until they "affirm their commitment to New Zealanders' values and standards." On the same occasion, Peters claimed to know that Muslim extremists were regularly entering New Zealand, and accused Islam in New Zealand as "having two faces – a moderate face and a militant underbelly". However, he refused to identify the person or the source.
2005 election 
As the 2005 general election approached, Peters did not indicate a preference for coalition with either of the major parties, declaring that he would not seek the "baubles of office". He promised to either give support in confidence and supply to the party with the most seats, or to abstain from no-confidence votes against it, and that he would not deal with any coalition that included the Greens. He pledged to keep post-election negotiations to under three weeks following criticism of the seven-week marathon it took to broker a deal with National in 1996.
In the election, some of New Zealand First's traditional support moved to National. Peters himself narrowly lost his longstanding hold on Tauranga to National MP Bob Clarkson, but New Zealand First did well enough to receive seven seats (down from 13 in 2002), allowing Peters to remain in Parliament as a list MP. Soon after the 2005 election Peters launched a legal challenge against Clarkson. The case alleged that Clarkson had spent more than the legal limit allowed for campaign budgets during elections in New Zealand. This legal bid ultimately failed, with a majority of the judges in the case declaring that Clarkson had not overspent.
In negotiations with Clark after the election, Peters secured the ministerial portfolios of Foreign Affairs and Racing in the Labour-led government, a move which apparently lay at odds with his earlier promise to refuse the "baubles of office". He was a member of the Executive Council, although he was outside cabinet. He was able to criticise the government in areas not related to his portfolios, which experts said was an unprecedented situation. Considering his previous comments relating to immigration, there were mixed reactions from commentators. His selection for the Foreign Affairs portfolio created some measure of surprise within the country and beyond. National Party leader Don Brash said the choice was "astonishing", because "the whole region distrusts Winston Peters – Australia, Asia [...]. I think putting him as minister of foreign affairs does huge damage for our international reputation." The Age, in Australia, expressed surprise that the position had been given to an "outspoken, anti-migrant populist [and] nationalist".
Allegations concerning Peters' involvement with Simunovich Fisheries and former Member of Parliament Ross Meurant, who was engaged as both adviser to Peters and in undefined business activities with Peter Simunovich (managing director of Simunovich Fisheries), culminated in a Parliamentary Select Committee enquiry into what became known as the 'scampi enquiry'. The enquiry cleared Peters, Simunovich and Meurant of any wrongdoing.
In October 2006, Peters affirmed that he would continue to serve as leader for the 2008 election.
2008 election 
Peters tried to regain Tauranga in the 2008 election and lost to National's Simon Bridges by a margin of 11,742 votes, a much larger loss than in 2005. With New Zealand First gaining 4.07 percent of the vote and failing to reach the 5 percent threshold to enter Parliament without winning an electorate seat, Peters did not enter the 49th New Zealand Parliament. In his concession speech, Peters promised, "This is not the end", and alluded to the fact that while New Zealand First would not have any members in Parliament, it was still New Zealand's fourth largest political party, with 4.07 percent of the vote. Despite this, political commentators described the defeat as "the end of the road" for Peters.
Peters generally shunned the media spotlight following the election. In 2009, he caused a brief flurry of interest when it was revealed he was still using a ministerial car, some months after his election defeat. Later it was reported he had started writing a rugby column for a local magazine. He appeared on TV ONE's Q & A programme on 5 July 2009, confirming that he was still the leader of New Zealand First. He hinted at a political comeback and attacked the New Zealand government's review of the Foreshore and Seabed Act. In late 2010 and early 2011 Peters made a number of appearances on television and radio where he made it clear his and New Zealand First's intention to contest the 2011 election. As of 2011 Peters and New Zealand First still register in major political polls. New Zealand First's annual convention in July 2011 received widespread media coverage and somewhat restored the media's interest in Peters and the party.
2011 election 
Views and policies 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (August 2008)|
Considerable debate has centred on how to classify the politics of Winston Peters. He is commonly described as nationalist and populist. He says he distrusts the corporate world – a fact sometimes used to label him as left-wing – but exhibits strong conservatism in his social policy, a right-wing stance.
Peters has a generally fraught relationship with the media with media interactions often described as confrontational. Peters attributes the hostility of media coverage to foreign-ownership of New Zealand media assets and their political agenda.
Peters has campaigned in previous elections for compulsory superannuation schemes for all New Zealanders. He has cultivated support amongst the elderly in particular, and his support has been concentrated among New Zealanders over 60 years of age.
In 2007, Peters was bestowed with the chiefly Samoan title Vaovasamanaia, meaning "beautiful, handsome, awesome, delighted and joyful."
Funding controversies 
Peters attracted media attention in 2008 over controversial payments for legal services and party donations. He had received $100,000 in 2006 to fund legal costs of challenging the election of Bob Clarkson to the Tauranga electorate. The money came from Owen Glenn, a wealthy New Zealand businessman and philanthropist based in Monaco. Under parliamentary rules any gift to MPs over the value of $500 must be relinquished. Peters denied knowing about the source of the money but this was not corroborated by his lawyer Brian Henry and Glenn contradicted Peters' denial.
The Vela family, prominent in the racing industry, had donated $150,000 to Peters over a four-year period. The payments were made in sums of $10,000 in order to remain within rules governing political party funding.
The Dominion Post published details from New Zealand First sources that before the 2005 election $25,000 had been donated to the party from Bob Jones via the Spencer Trust. The Trust is administered by Wayne Peters, a brother of Winston Peters. Jones confirmed that he had paid the money to the Spencer Trust and was asked by Winston Peters to make the donation. Peters denies that he had asked Jones for a donation to the party. The donation was not declared to the Electoral Commission as required by law.
On 29 August 2008, Peters offered to stand down from his portfolios as Foreign Affairs and Racing Minister, pending an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office as to whether the donations from Sir Robert Jones and the Vela brothers reached the New Zealand First party as intended. On 10 September 2008, Winston Peters gave evidence to the Privileges Committee of the New Zealand Parliament in an attempt to refute evidence given by Owen Glenn. The Privileges Committee returned a report on 22 September recommending that Peters be censured for "knowingly providing false or misleading information on a return of pecuniary interests". Parliament passed a motion censuring Peters the following day. All but three of the parties in Parliament (New Zealand First, Labour, and Progressives who abstained) supported the censure.
Peters was later cleared by the Serious Fraud Office with respect to political donations, however some matters were referred back to the Electoral Commission as it was determined that, while no fraud had taken place, some electoral law matters with regard to funding declarations were not complied with. The police subsequently decided that no offence had been committed.
Peters has referred to the affair as part of the "most vicious character assassination seen in any campaign this country has ever witnessed" and unsuccessfully sued Television New Zealand for defamation.
See also 
- "Peters 'hurt but calm' in stepping down". The New Zealand Herald. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
- Preliminary election results 2008.
- "The return of Peters". 3 News NZ. November 27, 2013.
- "Candidate profile: Winston Peters". 3 News (MediaWorks New Zealand). 13 October 2011. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011.
- Laking, Rob (2004). History Case Study.pdf "Selling the Family Silver: The Sale of Wellington Airport – A Case Study in Local Government Decision-Making" (PDF). p. 28.
- Winston Peters (27 May 2005). "Securing Our Borders and Protecting Our Identity".
- Hill, Ruth (17 October 2005). "Making Peters Foreign Affairs Minister 'bad for country's image'". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
- Hill, Ruth (17 October 2005). "Making Peters Foreign Affairs Minister 'bad for country's image'". The New Zealand Herald.
- "NZ gets anti-migrant foreign minister". The Age (Melbourne). AAP. 18 October 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
- "Winston in for long haul". The New Zealand Herald. 15 October 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
- "Official Count Results—Tauranga". New Zealand Ministry of Justice. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
- New Zealand Ministry of Justice (8 November 2008). "2008 Election Results".
- Savage, Jared; Haines, Leah (9 November 2008). "Winston Peters' last stand is a lost battle". The New Zealand Herald.
- Milne, Rebecca (1 February 2009). "Peters' big black shopping trolley". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- Gower, Patrick (20 June 2009). "Peters' life after politics: Travel, commerce and a little journalism". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- ONE News (5 July 2009). "Peters slams review of foreshore law".
- "'We are not a cling-on party' – Peters slams PM, 'sordid cronyism'". The New Zealand Herald. 1 August 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Cheng, Derek (11 November 2011). "Winston Peters slams 'disgusting' NZ media". The New Zealand Herald.
- Tait, Maggie (13 July 2007). "Peters given chiefly Samoan title". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2007.
- "Argo 'misled the world' – Peters". 3 News NZ. March 12, 2013.
- Oliver, Paula (27 August 2008). "Peters under fire after Glenn says he asked for donation". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 27 August 2008.
- "Businessman wants NZ First to confirm donation". Radio New Zealand. 24 July 2008. Archived from the original on 1 August 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
- Gay, Edward (25 July 2008). "Peters' attacks critics, sidesteps donation issues". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 25 July 2008.
- Kitchin, Phil (24 July 2008). "Jones gave $25,000 to NZ First". Dominion Post. Retrieved 24 July 2008.
- "Peters steps down from Government". The New Zealand Herald. 29 August 2008. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- Oliver, Paula; Gower, Patrick (28 August 2008). "NZ First facing 'serious and complex fraud' inquiry". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 29 August 2008.
- "Report: Peters censured for 'false, misleading' information". The New Zealand Herald. 22 September 2008.
- Report of the Privileges Committee into Peters allegations, New Zealand Parliament, September 2008
- "Peters officially censured by Parliament". The New Zealand Herald. 23 September 2008.
- "Winston Peters cleared of fraud". TV3. 10 October 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008.
- Gower, Patrick (4 November 2008). "Police decide no charges for NZ First". The New Zealand Herald.
- "NZ First Campaign Launch Election 2011". Rt. Hon Winston Peters. 30 October 2011.
- "Winston Peters appeals defamation ruling". NZherald. NZPA. 24 March 2011.
Further reading 
- Hames, Martin. Winston First: The Unauthorised Account of Winston Peters' Career (Auckland: Random House, 1995).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Winston Peters|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Winston Peters|
- New Zealand First: Winston Peters biography
- The Beehive: Winston Peters biography
- Winston Peters – personal website
|New Zealand Parliament|
|Member of Parliament for Hunua
Keith Reading Allen
|Member of Parliament for Tauranga
|Party political offices|
|New political party||Leader of New Zealand First
|Minister of Māori Affairs
|Deputy Prime Minister
|New title||Treasurer of New Zealand
|Minister of Foreign Affairs