Winston Peters says he turned down offer to join forces with controversial Advance NZ party

Source: 1News

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he turned down an offer from the controversial Advance New Zealand party to join forces.

The party was established by former National MP Jami-Lee Ross in May and is now co-led by he and Billy Te Kahika - leader of the New Zealand Public Party.

While on the campaign trail in Tauranga today Peters told media Advance New Zealand had asked him to join forces early on in the piece, but he turned the offer down. 

"The fact is we said no, the reasons would be obvious to any sensible, sane, rational person." 

Te Kahika has made a name for himself through the sharing of conspiracy theory videos online.

Both he and Ross invited more controversy to the party over the weekend, after they organised a large rally in Auckland with at least a few thousand people packed into Aotea Square, no social distancing and few wearing masks.

When asked what he thought of conspiracy theorists in New Zealand, he said they were concerning, in particular when it comes to the Māori and Pasifika communities.

"There are some people whose understanding of the facts is actually appalling and they're a serious danger particularly to the Māori and Polynesian world because they could be the most susceptible where Covid-19 is concerned. 

"I’m worried that their breaking the rules in the context where the Māori world is concerned and the Polynesian world is concerned with the kind of flat earth society statements and looney tune statements based on nothing more than their Jonestown suspicion.

"They should get off the Kool-Aid and get out of this business if that's what they think their purpose is."