NZ First's Shane Jones spoke to Te Ao Māori News at the gathering for Waitangi which he hosted. Video / File
New Zealand First is gathering its resources for another tilt at Parliament - and the state of the economy is at the top of the list.
Each year around Waitangi Day, Shane Jones hosts dignitaries, politicians, and ambassadors, as well as local business people, NZ First supporters and Māori. It is an eclectic bunch who would not normally be caught in the same room. The shindig has become a highlight of Waitangi Day and anyone who is anyone wants to be there.
Jones, who famously missed out on a return to Wellington - falling to Labour's Willow Jean-Prime in the last election - did not even come second in the race, garnering a meagre 4,500 or so votes.
But 2023 is a new year, and with it comes renewed hope for Winston Peters and Co.
Jones says the Labour government has made critical errors in its handling of the economy.
“Kua rite ngā ture whakahaere pakihi ki Aotearoa ki te pungāwerewere, kua rite me he kāinga mō te Katipō”
“Economic policy in this country is like a cobweb, where only the Katipō survives.”
National Party leader Christopher Luxon and ACT Party leader David Seymour at Waitangi on Sunday. Photo / File
Te Tiriti o Waitangi will also be a hot topic during this year's elections.
ACT Party leader David Seymour has made a referendum on Te Tiriti a bottomline in any potential coalition to form the next Government.
While many people consider New Zealand First and ACT as occupying the same space politically, Jones is unequivocal in his retort.
“Winston and I still hold deep affection for our Māori people and that's the difference between us.”