What has NZ First achieved in 20 years?

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First celebrates its 20th anniversary this month but a Hawke’s Bay politician and former MP of the party believes it’ll self-destruct when its leader Winston Peters decides to leave.

That is self-evident. Peters promised that they would elect a Deputy Leader by March 2012. It is not July 2013 and his insecurities about any possible sucessors means they don’t even have a deputy leader.

Out-going Hawke’s Bay regional councillor Neil Kirton was elected to Parliament in 1996 as a New Zealand First list MP and was appointed associate Minister of Health when the party formed a coalition with the National government.

He was one of three former New Zealand First MPs invited to speak on TV3’s Sunday morning political programme, The Nation, looking back on the past two decades of the party and its possible future.

After the interview, Mr Kirton told Hawke’s Bay Today he stood by his comments which suggested the party had not achieved any “major triumph in political history” which had made a difference to the lives of people today.

“Jim Anderton can lay claim to KiwiBank which has become a huge New Zealand institution. The KiwiSaver scheme by Michael Cullen has made a big difference to people in our daily lives and there is also Sir Douglas Graham’s Treaty Settlements.

“So what I am talking about is in the past two decades, very few policies supporting those kinds of initiatives have come out of New Zealand First.”

As the party is mainly a vehicle for Winston to enjoy the baubles of office, it is no surprise that they have so few achievements for 20 years in Parliament.

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