Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters today called for National Party and Opposition leader Judith Collins to stop undermining democracy.
“New Zealanders are sadly being fed a steady stream of misinformation about the pre-election period from the National Party,” said Mr Peters.
“Its effect is to sow doubt about the legitimacy of the current government as it focuses solely on protecting the health of New Zealanders.
“There is no convention for power sharing such as Ms Collins, a trained lawyer, is claiming. She should know better. So who is giving her that advice and why is she taking it?
“The current government ‘continues to have full powers to govern until the election’.
“That is not a self-serving claim made by the government. It is a fact of stable government.
“The Cabinet Office on 29 January explained that the ‘caretaker convention’ does not apply in the pre-election period. It only commences post-election, up to and until there is either confirmation of the old government or a new one,” said Mr Peters.
The Cabinet Office circular is a public document which is freely available on the government website.
“Therefore, Judith Collins and the National Party are sadly misrepresenting the constitutional position to the public,” said Mr Peters.
“What we are witnessing is the disappointing collapse of a once honourable party. The party of Keith Holyoake, Ralph Hannan and Jack Marshall was a party of principle, whether one agreed with them or not. National is in danger of losing its way.
“At the very time the government, alongside the ‘team of five million’ New Zealanders, is solely focused on restoring the nation’s health, the National Party appears focused on undermining that effort to an already fearful public.
“If it wasn’t so malicious and dangerous for our democracy it would merely be sad,” ended Mr Peters.
Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister