Like every other party in Parliament, New Zealand First is currently speeding up it's attempts to moderate its policies and make itself less politically distinctive. The latest examples involve asian immigration, free trade deals, and acceptance of the 'baubles of office'. Where once leader Winston Peters was well known for his opposition to Asian immigration and refugees, he now takes part in building better ties between Asians and New Zealanders. For example last week he helped launch Asian Magazine, which is aimed at making a stand against racism in NZ. As the Herald points out, this is a long way from when Peters complained 'We have now reached the point where you can wander down Queen Street in Auckland and wonder if you are still in New Zealand or some other country'. [Read more below]
Likewise, NZ First was established partly in opposition to free trade, and the party has always been very skeptical of NZ's negotiation of free trade pacts. Now, however, Peters is playing a leading role in lobbying US politicians for exactly that - even though he doesn't hold the portfolio for trade, which was deliberately separated from his Foreign Affairs portfolio - see Winston Peters pitches for US free-trade talks. As Murray McCully rightly points out, Peters appears to have succumbed to 'political schizophrenia', and his supporters are likely to see his free trade advocacy as a 'betrayal of faith'. Unsurprisingly, NZ First are wallowing around 1-2% in opinion polls.
Peters has also been critical of a new academic study of the 2005 general election entitled The Baubles of Office. The basis of title is probably based around the fact that Peters campaigned at the last election on the fact that he had previously turned down the use of ministerial houses and cars and said he wasn't prepared to compromise NZ First's 'principles simply to pursue the perks of office'. But on becoming Foreign Minister, Peters has accepted the ministerial house and car. See: When is a bauble not a bauble?