Winston Peters says if elected to Government New Zealand First would remove Māori names from government departments.
He says it's not an attack on the Māori language but on "the elite virtue signallers who have hijacked the language for their own socialist means".
"This conceited, conniving, cultural cabal doesn’t represent hard working ordinary Māori - they only seek to use Māori to further their own agenda."
His comments were made today at a State of the Nation speech at a church in Auckland's Howick.
Peters was discussing broader issues of challenges in the health system, among other things.
"This crisis in health must be addressed in Budget 2023 - starting with a name for the health service that 95% of New Zealanders can understand - not Te Whatu Ora."
That comment was met with applause by those in the room.
"Everybody knows language and communication is about understanding, but these people don’t care. You’ve got Waka Kotahi [NZTA] heading down the road… going to be in the water.
"Get on Air New Zealand, they’ve got the ‘waka in the sky’.
"Why are we putting up with this bulldust?"
Peters said under New Zealand First, the party would "change all of the woke virtue-signalling names of every government department back to English".
"Back to what they were before the academics from university sociology departments started this madness a few years ago."
He said Māori "secretly" driving the agenda were "of the people but they're not for the people" and didn't campaign on other issues such as employment and healthcare.
Peters also said there was an "all-out assault on western values" in New Zealand and on "one person, one vote, with each vote being of equal value".
"Today all they speak about is rights. They never speak about personal responsibility, never.
"They’re all into minority rights, teaching children gender identity theory and they’re not interested in debate. Anyone who questions them is gaslit, or culturally cancelled, or shouted down."
He said the tenets of co-governance were "based on a lie".
"The simple fact is, Maori ceded sovereignty to the Crown, because for years before 1840 they wanted law and order in their country, no matter how much the cultural Marxists want to try and re-write history."
The English version of the Treaty of Waitangi stated Māori ceded sovereignty to the Crown and the Māori version stated Māori granted governance to the Crown, according to the NZ History website.
According to the Waitangi Tribunal, the contra proferentem rule - where in the event of ambiguity preference is given against the original drafter of an agreement - applies. The Tribunal has said the original drafter is the Crown.
In the speech, Peters also announced New Zealand First, if elected, would change rules so being a member of a gang would be an automatic aggravating factor at sentencing.
It would also change rules so those who assaulted first responders - defined by Peters as police officer, paramedic, firefighter or corrections officer in the course of their duty - there would be an automatic six-month minimum mandatory prison sentence.
The latter is something paramedics recently called for in a select committee hearing on a petition started by the mother of Matthew Hunt, who was murdered while on duty.
Peters concluded the speech saying that with "cooperation, conciliation, inclusivity and teamwork", the country could "make it out of this crisis to a better future for every New Zealander".
"We can become again the envy of the world."
There have been 14 1News Kantar Public polls since the last election. In those, New Zealand First has fluctuated between 1.2% of the party vote in May 2021 and 3.6% in November last year.
The margin of error is 3.2%.
The party needs to achieve 5% of the party vote - or secure electorate seats - to gain seats in Parliament.