Winston Peters says he's not the kingmaker, but he can promise he'll be in Government
Winston Peters holds the cards to form the next government, but won't say which direction he'll go.
"If the Labour leader came here today, she can't promise you she's going to be in the next government. If the National Party guy shows up today, he can't promise you he can be in the next government.
"But I can," the New Zealand First leader said on Thursday.
Peters was courting the youth vote at Waikato University in Hamilton a day after the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll saw his party overtake the Greens to become third-biggest political party.
* NZ Election: Just how good is this poll for Labour?
* The Jacinda effect - it's definitely a thing
* Winston Peters condemns TVNZ's decision to have Mike Hosking front election debate
* In just a week Jacinda Ardern has delivered a poll-quake to the New Zealand political scene
Even so, NZ First and the Greens both slumped in the poll. NZ First was on 9.2 per cent, down 3.8 percentage points, and the Greens on 8.3 per cent, down 4.7 points, while Labour under new leader Jacinda Ardern soared 9 points to 33 per cent and National was down 0.8 points to 44.4 per cent.
But Peters dismissed the polls, saying the "Jacinda effect" was a massive overreaction.
More than 200 people attended the Village Green lunchtime meeting, where Peters answered questions for an hour.
He said he doesn't believe his party is kingmaker and will wait till after the election before deciding which party it will deal with.
"We've never considered ourselves kingmakers, but the reality is New Zealand First will do well in this campaign."
Undecided first-time voter and student Kael Kutia, 19, was unconvinced.
"I've only started to follow politics this year, but what I've found is he likes to dodge the question and pull up what other parties are not doing," Kutia said.
"He's just using the past to persuade everyone here on what's gone on before, but not how we are going to move forward."
Anna Barhorst, 21, voted for the Green Party last election but was swayed by Peters' speech.
"I like their policies. National and Labour don't really have much to offer."