New Zealand First

New Zealand First (Māori: Aotearoa Tuatahi),[17] commonly abbreviated to NZ First,[18] is a nationalist[3][4] and populist[5][6][7] political party in New Zealand. The party formed in July 1993 following the resignation on 19 March 1993 of its leader and founder, Winston Peters, from the then-governing National Party. Peters had been the sitting Member of Parliament for Tauranga since 1984 and would use the electorate as the base for New Zealand First until consecutive defeats by National Party candidates in 2005 and 2008. It has formed coalition governments with both major political parties in New Zealand: first with the National Party from 1996 to 1998 and then with the Labour Party from 2005 to 2008 and from 2017 to 2020. Peters has served on two occasions as deputy prime minister.

New Zealand First
Aotearoa Tuatahi
AbbreviationNZ First
PresidentJulian Paul[1]
SecretaryHolly Howard[2]
LeaderWinston Peters
Deputy LeaderFletcher Tabuteau
Founded18 July 1993; 28 years ago (18 July 1993)
Split fromNational Party
Youth wingYoung New Zealand First
Ideology
Political position
Colours  Black
MPs in the
House of Representatives
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Website
nzfirst.nz

New Zealand First takes a centrist position on economic issues and a conservative position on social issues such as criminal justice. The party distinguishes itself from the mainstream political establishment through its use of populist rhetoric, and supports popular referendums. The party is also anti-immigration,[19][20] and is supportive of protectionism[21][22] and pensioners' interests.[8]

The party entered the House of Representatives shortly after its formation in 1993. New Zealand First had 17 members of parliament (MPs) at its peak, following the first MMP election in 1996. It left parliament following the 2008 election in which it failed to gain enough party votes to retain representation. However, in the 2011 election, New Zealand First gained 6.59% of the total party vote, entitling it to eight MPs. The party increased its number of MPs to eleven at the 2014 election. During the 2017 election, the party's number of MPs dropped to nine members.[23] In the weeks following the 2017 election, New Zealand First formed a coalition government with the Labour Party.[24] In the 2020 election New Zealand First's share of the party vote fell to 2.6%, with all incumbent MPs, including Peters, losing their seats in Parliament.[25]