Winston Peters 'obsessed' with National Party - Simon Bridges

The AM Show 23/10/2019

Simon Bridges says Winston Peters is obsessed with the National Party, but won't rule out working with him after the 2020 election.

New Zealand First held its party conference over the weekend, with the National Party popping up multiple times in Peters' speeches.

"A future National facing economic headwinds will embark on austerity policies, condemning New Zealand to more social fall-out," Peters told delegates.

"We hope they change but the fact is New Zealand First, right now, as a party of the centre, is the National Party, when it had a capital N - when it put New Zealand first."

Bridges told The AM Show it's clear the New Zealand First leader is preoccupied with the opposition.

He talked about me and the National Party more than any other single issue.

"He may be surprised to know we just don't think about him anywhere near that much. I'll make a decision on Winston but I'm not worrying about it right now." 

Bridges wouldn't go as far as to rule out working with Peters in the future, saying he won't be making any call on that until 2020, despite all the acrimony.

"Wait till next year and we'll be very, very clear with you, with New Zealanders, on our position... on who's in and who's out with the National Party."

But he did say he had far more important things on his mind than what Peters thinks.

"I'm worried about an economy, I'm worried about health, education, terrorism, all these issues. I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time on Winston Peters and the New Zealand First Party as much as they're obsessed with us."  

The AM Show / Newshub reporter Katie Fitzgerald