No deals before election - Peters

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 09:33 01/08/2011
Winston Peters
STUDENT DEBT: Winston Peters has signalled plans which would halve student debt.

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LATEST: New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is refusing to speculate on where he might stand at the general election but has ruled out doing any deals because they "give democracy a dirty name".

The party held its conference in Auckland over the weekend but the former Tauranga MP and minister refused to end speculation about which electorate he would run in November.

An announcement was expected by the end of the month.

"The decision as to where will be made by the board based on the parties plan and strategy," he told TV3's Firstline this morning.

Wherever he stood, New Zealand First would campaign across the country Peters said.

Asked about rumours he would run against Prime Minister John Key in Helensville, he said he would campaign against Key throughout the country.

Key has ruled out working with Peters after the November 26 election, but Labour leader Phil Goff has left the door open to a deal.

"From Invercargill to Kaitaia, we'll be flat out and when the dust settles on election night we'll have made chaff of those polls (which put New Zealand First below the 5 per cent threshold)."

The polls were wrong by 100 per cent in 2002 and 500 per cent in 2005 and again in 2008, Peters said.

New Zealand First did not get enough votes to return to Parliament after the 2008 election.

But, he said it was "childish" and a "fraud" to rely on polls that had undecided voters.

As for Epsom, Peters said the deal there between ACT and National was "sordid cronyism... it gives democracy a bad name".

He said he was polling higher than the ACT Party in "the one poll that looks credible there".

At the weekend conference, Peters outlined policy to repeal anti-smacking legislation, write off student loan payments dollar-for-dollar for graduates who stayed in New Zealand, and cut welfare for those who committed acts of child abuse.

He also reiterated many long-standing policies including opposition to asset sales and a promise to gradually buy back state assets in foreign hands.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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