Rt Hon Winston Peters
Leader New Zealand First and Member of Parliament for Northland.
Mr Peters grew up in Northland, he holds a BA and LLB. He entered parliament in 1978 in the seat of Hunua and was MP for Tauranga from 1984 till 2005.
In the 1996 Mr Peters' New Zealand First Party, set up three years earlier, won 17 seats in the first MMP election. He was Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer from 1996-1998 and represented New Zealand at the Hong Kong handover, at high-level talks in Beijing, and led business and finance delegations to Asia's capitals, the US and Canada.
He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister for Racing and Associate Minister of Seniors Citizens in the confidence and supply arrangement with the Labour Government in 2005-2008. He is credited with being personally responsible for thawing NZ-US relations.
Mr Peters' reputation gained for his tenacious pursuit of fairness and accountability, highlighted by the "Wine Box" victory, continues to underscore his politics.
Mr Peters won the Northland by-election in March this year against huge odds. New Zealand First now has 12 MPs.