Journalist Andrew Dickens, reporting from the 2019 New Zealand First Conference, states that the Party once again proved “they are more than a sideshow”.
In his op-ed article for NewstalkZB, Mr Dickens said he has always been an admirer of the Party, saying they are “a true centrist party”.
“[NZ First are] Slightly conservative, slightly socialist, not liberal but still with a heart towards the less well off - particularly if they’re elderly or come from Northland,” he added.
Mr Dickens notes of how the Party mitigated many of Labour’s policies, and said that the Party would do the same if they had gone with the National Party instead.
The journalist also negated claims that NZ First was a one-man band, mostly dominated by its leader Winston Peters, and predicting that the Party would fold once he retires.
“But Shane Jones seems there for the long haul. Ron Mark is still rattling in his cage. Tracey Martin is a determined woman. And Jenny Marcroft is slowly mitigating the baby boomer conservatism and bringing the party into the present,” Mr Dickens wrote.
The journalist also told of NZ First’s youth wing taking a powerful position on pill testing during the Conference, successfully influencing the membership to support festival pill testing.
With what he witnessed; Mr Dickens argued that NZ First is certainly more than just a sideshow.
“The question has always been is New Zealand First a sideshow or the real deal. Well, they’re much more than a sideshow as they’ve proved time and time again and probably will into the future.”