Winston Raymond Peters (born 11 April 1945) is a New Zealand politician and leader of New Zealand First, a political party he founded in 1993. Peters has had a turbulent political career since entering Parliament in 1978. He served as Minister of Maori Affairs in the Bolger National Party Government before being sacked in 1991 and losing party endorsement for his Tauranga seat. He returned to Parliament as an independent, then formed his own party, New Zealand First. In Opposition, Peters became an outspoken critic of New Zealand immigration policies. As leader of New Zealand First, he held the balance of power following the 1996 election, enabling the National Party to form a coalition government and securing for himself the positions of Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer. However, the coalition dissolved in 1998 following the replacement of Bolger by Jenny Shipley as Prime Minister.
Following the dissolution of the coalition, New Zealand First split between supporters of Shipley's government and opponents. Support for the party collapsed at the 1999 election. He was defeated in his Tauranga seat in 2005, but remained in Parliament as a list MP and was given the Foreign Affairs, Senior Citizens and Racing portfolios in the Labour government. On August 29, 2008, he stood down as Foreign Affairs and Racing Minister pending a police investigation into accusations that he failed to declare a series of political donations received by his party. On September 23, 2008, Peters was censured by the Parliament for "knowingly providing false or misleading information on a return of pecuniary interests" over a $100,000 donation made in 2005.
In the 2008 general election, New Zealand First failed to reach the five percent threshold and Peters did not regain his seat. As a result, neither Peters or New Zealand First were returned to Parliament.