Peters launches his comeback with punchlines

21:56, Apr 17 2011

NZ First leader Winston Peters held an audience of more than 300 of over-50s enthralled with jokes and passionate swipes at the Government as he hit the comeback trail in Horowhenua.

Mr Peters arrived late for the packed meeting at Levin Memorial Hall, wearing his usual pristine suit and colour-co-ordinated breast pocket handkerchief.

The crowd did not seem to mind his late arrival or the announcement that he was on a strict time deadline for a flight.

They roared at his jokes and clapped and cheered when he slammed the Government, piercing the air with a pointed finger. His speech concentrated on "financial scandal after financial scandal, bailout after bailout".

"The Government is pouring billions of dollars of good money – taxpayers' money – into failing businesses like South Canterbury Finance and AMI Insurance. It should nationalise AMI and send the people who supposedly ran the company to a tent camp in a Canterbury pine plantation for the winter."

The Government's true colours were shown last week when Finance Minister Bill English boasted about the low wages in this country being an attraction for overseas investors, he said.

"The only people this Government looks after are those on the top of the pile – they are creaming it ... [while] taxpayer dollars get siphoned off in billions to save failing businesses.

"This Government gives huge tax cuts to the rich and increases taxes on food and the necessaries of life for families. The days of pensioners eating pet food will be over the day we walk back through the doors of Parliament."

A Horowhenua Grey Power member pronounced at the end of the meeting: "Welcome back, it has been a bloody long three years without you," and people slapped him on the back as he left the hall.

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