On election night 2002 New Zealand First won back 10 per cent of the vote and brought 13 MPs into Parliament. Peters had mounted a brilliant three-point campaign against uncontrolled immigration, Treaty costs, and crime. Peters’ campaign phrase “Can we fix it? Yes we can” gained much attention because of the same line in theme music for the children’s television programme “Bob the Builder”.

Labour declined to form a coalition with New Zealand First but Peters continued to promote his policies strongly, frequently embarrassing ministers. However New Zealand First showed that it could work with Labour when the parties combined to pass legislation establishing Kiwibank, the Cullen Superannuation Fund, and legislation clarifying Crown ownership of the foreshore and seabed.